Parents reporting concerns about their child’s poor self-regulation has increased dramatically over the past several years. Self-regulation is also known as self-control, self-management or impulse control. It is the ability to do what needs to be done while managing impulses to do something else (not hitting when mad, staying on task when distracted, containing impulses). Research indicates increasing numbers of children struggle with being able to effectively handle their emotions, stay on task and manage social relationships. Working on self-regulation skills can help your child feel more comfortable regulating their sensory needs, emotions and impulses by providing them with a toolkit of cognitive, behavioural and emotional skills.
Play Therapy is a great way for children to learn how to better self-regulate their emotions. Play Therapy helps kids learn about different emotions, where the emotions come from and how to handle them. When children are more aware of their feelings and emotions it can make it easier for them to know how to handle them in a more positive way.
Learning about self-regulation and emotions at an early age can carry-on into adulthood. It is a way to encourage better behaviour at home, in the classroom and anywhere else that self-regulation might be an issue. In Play Therapy, children will learn new strategies to handle they emotions, know what triggers them and ways to cope when a stressor happens.
Issues in any of these areas can result in children needing to work on their self-regulation. Either, to up regulate (increase their energy level) or down regulate (decrease energy levels).
Up regulate is when children who are feeling tired and even depressed need to up regulate to feel more energetic. Whereas down regulating is for children who are constantly hyper and more excitable, who need to become more calm.