How to Help Your Child Co-Regulate

How to Help Your Child Co-Regulate

The stress response is a natural part of the human experience that helps us adapt to new situations and stressful events. When children have difficulty regulating their stress response, however, you can help them to co-regulate and feel better quicker.

What is co-regulation?

Co-regulation is a way of helping children regulate themselves. It involves being sensitive to your child’s internal states and responding appropriately, without making demands or trying to control their behavior.

Co-regulation is a way of helping your child’s brain to regulate their stress response.

The first step to co-regulate with your child is to understand the concept of self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ability to respond in a calm manner and not overreact when faced with challenges or stressful situations. Your child needs this skill in order for them to be able to manage their emotions and behavior appropriately, as well as develop healthy relationships with others.

Co-regulation involves helping children learn how they can calm themselves down when they’re feeling stressed out or upset so that they don’t have an outburst (or tantrum).

Co-regulation differs from other forms of regulation in that it requires you to respond to your child’s needs without trying to change his or her behavior. For example, if your child is upset because she dropped her ice cream cone on the sidewalk, asking her why she didn’t try harder not to drop the cone won’t help calm her down or make her feel better. Instead of criticizing or judging him, it would be more helpful for you to acknowledge his emotions and validating his experiences by saying something like: “That must have been so disappointing when that happened! I’m sorry.”

Co-regulate the signals in your child’s brain.

Co-regulating the signals in your child’s brain is an important part of helping them regulate their emotions and behavior. Here are some tips for how you can do this:

  • Talk about what’s going on with your child. Ask questions like, “What happened?” or “Tell me more about what happened.” This will help them process the event and gain a deeper understanding of their feelings about it.
  • Be sympathetic toward their experience by acknowledging that what happened was difficult for them and validating those feelings (e.g., “I’m sorry this was so hard for you”).

Co-regulate difficult emotions using compassion and kindness

Co-regulating difficult emotions like anger, frustration and sadness can be challenging for you as a parent. It’s important to remember that your child is not doing this on purpose. Co-regulating can be difficult for anyone, even adults. Here are some things you can do to help your child regulate their own emotions:

  • Use a calm and reassuring voice–this will help them feel safe enough to share what they are feeling with you.
  • Look for the emotion behind the behavior–if they’re hitting or kicking something when they get angry, ask yourself if there might be another way that would feel better? If so then try it! We may not always know what our children need but we do know they deserve our compassion and patience as we work through these situations together over time.”
  • Breathing exercises are another way to help your child calm down. You can teach them how to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth, or use other techniques such as counting breaths up from 1-10, or using a calming phrase like “I am powerful” or “I am safe.”
  • You can also have your child use a stress ball or fidget toy to help them focus on something besides their worries and anxieties.
  • Listening to music has been shown to reduce anxiety levels in children with by helping them focus on something else besides their worries and anxieties.

A Mindhues therapist can help you and your child learn to co-regulate

With the right tools, you can help your child regulate their stress response. This will allow them to stay calm and focused in stressful situations, which is key for developing healthy self-regulation skills.

Mindhues therapist can help. Contact us today to get started.