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Emotional co-regulation is an interactive process where parents, teachers or caregivers work together with children to help them manage their emotions. It starts in early childhood and lasts a lifetime. In this process, children learn to better respond to stressful situations and communicate their needs with others through the support and guidance of an adult. This is the first step in children learning self-regulation skills.
Emotional co-regulation plays a crucial role in supporting children’s healthy emotional development and equipping them with essential skills for managing emotions and relationships throughout their lives.
As children grow, their brains and regulation abilities develop. Though all children and youth need co-regulation support, different age groups will require different levels and forms of emotional co-regulation support. Other factors such as biology or temperament may also influence a child’s co-regulation needs.
It’s never too early to start co-regulating emotions with your child. To do this, you need to pay attention to how they’re feeling and respond in a way that helps them feel better. Some simple ways to co-regulate with a baby include:
By always using the same methods to help your baby when they’re upset, you’ll build a strong bond and trust with them.
Toddlers are just starting to understand and experience a wide range of emotions, but they may still have trouble identifying and communicating what they’re feeling. Some effective co-regulation strategies to try include:
Pre-schoolers grow fast in all ways, but it can be tough for them to control their feelings and understand how others are feeling, which can cause tantrums and other behaviours that are hard to deal with. But this is also a good chance to teach them how to handle their emotions by using co-regulation strategies.
Primary school-aged children, who are between 5 and 11 years old, are learning how to handle complicated social situations and make good choices for themselves. They may also feel pressure to do well in school and with friends, which can cause stress and anxiety. It’s important for them to learn how to regulate these emotions through co-regulation so they can handle these challenges. Here are some key co-regulation strategies that can help:
Adolescents are individuals who are between the ages of 11 and 18. During adolescence, many changes occur, both physically and emotionally. The brain develops and changes in many ways during this life stage, including the prefrontal cortex, which helps control emotions and prevent impulsive behaviour. Risk-taking is normal during this time as the brain looks for new experiences and skills. Adolescents can experience strong and fluctuating emotions, which highlights the importance of having supportive relationships and access to emotional co-regulation from trusted individuals. Here are some co-regulation strategies you can use with adolescents.
Emotional co-regulation is a crucial aspect of development and well-being for individuals of all ages. It is important to understand that different age groups have unique needs and challenges when it comes to managing their emotions.
By understanding and implementing appropriate strategies for each age group, we can help individuals regulate their emotions effectively and lead happier and healthier lives.
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