Want to help your child self-regulate for better learning outcomes?
Self-regulation can have a strong and positive impact on your child's ability to learn.
You can help your child have more successful learning sessions by recognizing and mitigating the childhood signs of stress including: difficulties sleeping, mood swings, signs of sadness, fear or anxiety.
Experiencing stress is inevitable, but the key is to effectively deal with stress and recover from the energy expended.
The Shanker method, by Dr. Stuart Shanker, offers 4 steps to help your child learn how to self-regulate.
𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱 𝟷) 𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘳.
Notice when tantrums, crankiness and emotional outbursts start to come to the surface and re-frame what might initially be perceived as misbehaviour as stress behaviour in your mind. Willful misbehaviour occurs when the child knows they should have acted differently. Stress behaviour is the result of a child’s nervous system shift to the fight or flight response.
𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱 𝟸) 𝘙𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥.
Recognize the stressors by going through the five domains of stress with your child and ask questions about possible stressors in each domain (see our next post for a breakdown on the five domains).
After the source of the stress is determined help soothe them by addressing the stress and validating their feelings.
𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱 𝟹) 𝘙𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵 – 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧-𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. Once your child has calmed down, help them reflect on what caused the fight or flight response. Discuss the events leading up to the stress response and help them label these events so they can do so again in the future when similar situations arise.
𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱 𝟺) 𝘙𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘥 – 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘮.
Work together with your child to create a collaborative plan on how they can avoid a full stress reaction in the future including priming them with alternate thought patterns that they can use when stressful situations present themselves in the future.
“Self-Reg is not a universal platform, targeted intervention or behaviour management program. It is a whole new way of thinking. The key idea that informs this new way of thinking is that living and learning are grounded in optimized self-regulation rather than self-control.”
–Dr. Stuart Shanker