Self Regulation for the Whole Family

What are your triggers? What sets you off?

Just like our children, as parents we also struggle with regulating our own emotions. 

The problem is that we need manage our own feelings first when dealing with our children or everything blows up!

First I recommend understanding how the brain and emotions work together. You see when we are triggered our autonomic systems kick in and we resort to fight, flight and freeze mode. Our brain senses an emergency and response accordingly.  But most of life isn't an emergency so we need to help our brain to reengage and calm down.

Another interesting point to note is mirror neurones often kick-in and that explains why our kids flip -out when we do (or the other way around). Check out this week's Podcast video for a visual explanation of the hand/brain model below. This is a great one to demonstrate for your kids to help them understand what is going on too.

The best way to help your brain to calm down and start to fully work is to breathe! This will get more oxygen to your cells and and you will not panic so much. I highly recommend the podcast interview I had with Brooke Gordon as she shares with us her micro meditation technique! Next week I interview Sasha Walsh an adaptive yoga instructor who also focuses on breath work.

Check in with yourself often is another great way to help you stop your emotions from taking over. We often forget to care for ourselves throughout the day and suddenly our triggers hit us (things like hunger, thirst, heat, exhaustion, overwhelm, loud noises). I sometimes set a timer for every 1-2 hours and ask myself what I'm needing most in that moment, then do it and move on. When I care for myself throughout the day I can stay on top of things much better.

Post up signs everywhere! We literally made a feelings wall. It was more for myself than my kids to be honest. I used the STOP Mindfulness Method for key words that reminded me to not yell.

Practice is key to all of these strategies. The more you practice the more often your brain remembers what to do for the next time. Staying on top of your self care is preventative. In the heat of the moment some other ideas could include:

  • Parenting mantras
  • Tapping your wrists
  • Walking Away
  • Visualizing yourself or your child at their best
  • Naming your feelings
  • Stating your needs
  • Take a break (go to the bathroom, have a drink, have a mommy time-out)
Join me on the Joyful Mud Puddles Podcast for this week's episode on Self Regulation

You can also watch this video here on YouTube that includes the Hand-brain model and more self regulation tips.