Many children struggle with self-regulation. It can be a difficult skill to learn, but it’s an important tool for success later on.


Wendel sometimes gets the sillies. He acts without thinking and looks for ways to get in trouble. He makes bad choices, and often gets hurt or hurts someone around him.
He needs to learn strategies to bring his emotions under control.

Does this sound like your child?


What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation refers to being able to understand how you manage and understand your own behaviour. It also refers to how you react and how you stay calm and calm yourself down. Being able to calm yourself down and regulate your emotions is an important skill for everyone- kids, adults and rabbits alike.

Why is learning to self-regulate so important?

Children need to learn to manage their emotions, and be able to calm their body down after something gets them excited or upset. Big emotions can become a problem when children are struggling to control their impulses. Self-regulation is really important skill for making friends, becoming independent and managing stress.

What to remember

Here are some situations that can impact your child’s ability to self-regulate:

☻  Being overtired
☻  Feeling sick
☻  Feeling overwhelmed
☻  Dealing with anxiety
☻  Not feeling safe and secure

Watch this video on Emotional Regulation

With an introduction and follow up by Dr King at The Mary J. Wright Child and Youth Development Clinic, Faculty of Education, Western University.

Think about your role in modeling Emotional regulation.

When emotions start to escalate, how can you turn this situation around?

Plan ahead for a situation that might challenge your child’s ability to self-regulate.

☻ Support and patience as your child learns to self-regulate is crucial.
☻ Talk with them about their emotional reactions, help them come up with a better solution.
☻ Track their behaviour. Once you see what provokes big feelings, come up with some strategies to help with self-regulation.

A trusting and receptive relationship is the best way to support your child as they learn to self-regulate.

Creating a Plan

  • Creating a plan helps you and your child work together to manage big feelings in the future.
  • Print off the plan on the kids page << Wendel gets the sillies >> and come up with a plan together.
  • Take the plan with you ( print off or on your phone) so you can remember what you need to do when emotions start to rise. Don’t forget to bring Poppy for some extra support!

You can use this plan to explain to family, friends or care givers how you and your child are working together to overcome big feelings. Use it to communicate to your child’s school or family doctor too!

Things to remember when building a plan:

  • Prep: Go over the day/event. What is expected? What will you do? What do you need your child to do? What can you do together?
  • Print off the plan and take it with you so everyone remembers what they need to do.
  • What are the important things to remember? What are the key parts of the plan? Determine the tough points: when does it get difficult, what are we going to do when that happens?
  • Yes to success or Maybe next time: what do we need to do differently, or do we just need more practice? Even the best plans still need practice sometimes.

Strategy tool box of mindfulness exercises to help regulate emotions →

Practice a couple of strategies beforehand with your child so you are ready to use them to help them self-regulate.

  • Squeezing the lemon-pretend you are squeezing your body like a lemon to make lemonade.
    Squeeze as hard as you can for 🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋 5 seconds and then relax- how much lemonade did you make?
  • Pretend to be a statue-get into a pose and freeze! How long can you go without moving?
  • Close your eyes and listen to a story- see if you can make pictures in your mind to go with the story
  • 5-4-3-2-1- Count
    🥕🥕🥕🥕🥕 five things you can see,
    🥕🥕🥕🥕 four things you can hear,
    🥕🥕🥕 three things you can touch,
    🥕🥕 two things you can smell and
    🥕one thing you can taste.
  • Blow up a balloon-take a deep breath in and blow up the balloon as big as you can. Can you blow up 3? 🎈🎈🎈

The Plan (example)

Working together to:

Manage our Sillies at Grandmas

What happened?

Prep- what will today look like:

  • Just before lunch we will head to Grandma’s
  • Your cousins will be there
  • We will have lunch and then you can play with your cousins while the adults visit
  • You need to make good choices
  • Stop think and do before making a choice that might get you in trouble.
  • If you feel you can’t make a good choice or you feel your body getting silly, come find an adult and we will help you make a good choice

Visiting Grandma’s on

How did I react

Parent- what will be my role in this plan:

  • Review the plan with child before we go to Grandmas
  • This would be a good time for questions
  • Give a 30-minute warning10-minute warning- help clean up, get ready to go
  • No yelling
  • Recognize when parent is losing patience
  • Remember child is trying The plan is to work together

March 18. 2024

What can I do instead?

Child- What will my role be in this plan:

  • Make sure I understand the plan- am I OK with the plan?
  • This is a good time for questions
  • Make sure I hear and understand the 30-minute warning. If I think I am going to struggle- go find parent
  • 10-minute warning- help clean up
  • No yelling
  • Let someone know if the big feelings are starting
  • Grab coat, put on shoes, hold Poppy

Strategies we can use: Squeezing like a lemon, blowing up a balloon

Now It’s your turn!

  • Don’t forget to collaborate with your child and validate their feelings
  • Go to the kids page and help your child work through the activities in the Wendel library << #2: Wendel gets the sillies >>
This is your chance to work with your child to come up with a plan for next time. Work through the activities on this kids page together. They have been designed to help you start a conversation. Come up with a plan that works for everyone.

The important thing is you are trying and you’re working together.