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Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behaviours in accordance with the demands of a situation.

Why is emotional regulation important for your child?

  • Improves learning at school

  • Sitting and listening in the classroom

  • Behaves in socially acceptable ways

  • Develops friendships

  • Taking turns

  • Sharing toys

  • Increases independence

  • Able to make good decisions about their behaviour and learn how to manage in new situations with less guidance

  • Manages stress

Children with emotional regulation difficulties may:

  • Display reduced communication and social skills

  • Withdraw and have trouble interacting with others

  • Display difficult behaviours

  • Experience difficulty learning at school and be less productive

  • Struggle with transitions between tasks.

How to improve your child’s emotional regulation skills:

  • Model positive emotional regulation skills for your child

  • Help your child in identifying emotional triggers for example:

  • Lack of sleep and hunger

  • Sensitivity to loud noise or

  • transitioning away from tasks such as electronic devices

  • Explore coping strategies together

  • Mindfulness and breathing practices

  • When they are experiencing strong emotions, encourage them to name the emotion/feeling and what caused it

  • Provide positive reinforcement when your child self regulates and manages a stressful situation

  • Plan for challenging situations with your child

  • Establish routines

Fun activities to assist with emotional regulation:

  • Exercise

  • Pop bubbles with only one hand

  • Red light, green light

  • Simon says

  • Duck Duck goose

  • Freeze dance

  • Hand clapping games

  • Spot it

Hoffmann, J., & Russ, S. (2012). Pretend Play, Creativity, and Emotional Regulation in Children. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and The Arts, 6(2), 175-184. (2020). Self regulation in young children. Retrieved from

Zeman, J., Cassano, M., Perry-Parrish, C., & Stegall, Sheri. (2006). Emotional Regulation in Children and Adolescents. Journal of Development & Behavioral Pediatrics, 27(2), 155-168.


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