We are living in an unprecedented, stressful time and it makes sense that we are not able to be our best selves…and neither are our kids. We recently heard this story from a parent in our community – does it resonate with you?
A parent shared that they thought they were being calm when they told their child, “Since you are going to be home all day, exercise or movement of some sort is going to have to be part of your day.” The child refused, laying on their bed with their laptop and saying, “I don’t want to move. I am happy staying right here.” The parent felt a surge of emotion that surprised them, and yelled , “Yes you WILL be moving your body! You are going to stay healthy! You will need to come up with a plan!!!” There was an impasse that left them both angry. The parent began to realize that their elevated emotions over the issue were coming from the worry and fear they were feeling. Their child’s response was likely also about fear. When we are dysregulated by a strong emotion, our brains are not able to function normally. We are unable to make decisions or act with compassion and logic.
At school your child has been learning about how to practice self-regulation. It is a skill that requires practice and makes us more able to be present and deal with stress. Below are some ideas to help parents and children self-regulate.
Ask your children to teach you an SEL skill they know. Ask them to show you “brain in the palm of the hand” and/or a breathing exercise they do at school