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Childlife.ca e-news #36: Temper Taming

Mary Stuart, Director, Childlife.ca

Teaching Self Regulation Skills to Kids! Part 1

He who smiles, rather than rages, is always the stronger. —Japanese Proverb

Self regulation: the self’s capacity to alter its behaviours; to identify, control, adapt, alter, manage behaviours.

Research tells that the ability to self-regulate does not start until a child has the capacity for meta-cognition: thinking about one’s thinking, which begins to emerge around the age of 4 years!

“I’m frustrated!” isn’t in most children’s vocabulary. Very young children are still learning words and older children (and us adults) are still learning to use words to express feelings appropriately.

Emotions are most often expressed in behaviours. Strong emotions elicit lots of energy which has to go somewhere; like the mouths, feet, and/or hands. In other words a temper tantrum: screaming, hitting, punching, pushing…

No wonder we find some behaviours of children challenging!

Knowing how to identify, control, adapt, alter and manage behaviour is an essential life skill which needs to be taught in our homes and classrooms!

Behaviour-Emotion Connection

Positive, effective guidance strategies for challenging behaviour begin and end with making the behaviour-emotion connection. The more we can recognize the emotion behind the behaviour, the better we can model, teach, coach and support their ability to self regulate.

Temper Taming Tips

  • Make emotional literacy a priority in your classrooms and homes
  • Daily talk about emotions – happy, sad, fantastic, angry, delighted, scared…so they can build an “emotions” vocabulary
  • Share how you deal/express with your emotions: “Today I was so happy that I was singing and smiling all day.” “When I was frustrated today, I took a deep breath and remember it was all going to be all right.”

Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you. —Robert Fulghum

Temper Tamer/Self-Regulation workshops are available on-site at your centre! We provide customized training on this topic and other child behaviour and development topics. Justask@childlife.ca and we’ll send you our latest training

Stay tuned for more Temper Taming Tips in our next eNews!

Until next time, Happy Days!

Mary