The Regulation Resource

For educators supporting mental health and wellbeing in students, colleagues, parents/caregivers, and themselves through trauma sensitive practices.
November 15, 2022| Issue 1
Regulation Strategies for Young Children*
When practiced regularly, these strategies can enhance capacity for emotional regulation in the brain, making it easier to return to a regulated state when big feelings happen.

Just Breathe: The simple act of taking deep breaths sends signals to the brain and body for calm and regulation.
  • Co-regulated breath: Sit close to the child. Match the rate and pattern of a child’s breathing and then gradually begin to take deeper and slower breaths as the child’s breath follows your lead.

  • Breath through play
  • Bubbles- Who can blow the biggest bubble? Breath needs to be long and slow
  • Blow a long note on a musical instrument
  • Pinwheel – Keep it spinning using a count: Breath 1, 2, 3 blow 4, 5, 6
  • Cotton ball and straw- Take a deep breath in and blow cotton ball down a long table. Can you get it across the finish line?
  • Guided Breathing:
  • Rainbow breathing: Breathe in- arms go up straight overhead; breathe out – arms go down to your sides making a rainbow
  • Child and adult lay on floor with stuffed animal on their belly. Breathe in and out and watch animal rise and fall. 
  • Birthday Breathing: Smell the yummy birthday cake baking - Breathe in through your nose; blow out the candles – Breathe through your mouth

Rhythm: Repetitive rhythms resonate with the lower parts of our brains. These are the parts of the brain that help us to feel calm and safe. 
  • Drumming call and response patterns (adult can drum and children can clap or stomp feet to repeat pattern
  • Singing
  • Bounce ball to a beat
  • Partner bean bag toss to a beat or song

Movement: Movement is an essential part of how we learn. It can alert us and give us energy and help us to cope with frustration. It also promotes attention and memory. Be sure to include steady rhythm in your movement activities.
  • Reach for the ceiling with hands up high then touch your toes
  • Take a walk; follow the leader
  • Learning stations
  • Hokey pokey
  • Hands on your hips, turn and twist.
  • Yoga poses (mountain, tree, lunge, warrior, forward fold, down dog)

Sensory Tools:
We take in information from the environment through our 7 senses. These senses perceive changes in the environment and send messages to the brain to respond. Each of us develops a natural “sensory profile” in which we experience input into our different senses as pleasurable (sensory seeking) or not pleasurable (sensory avoiding). When our sensory needs are met, we are more likely to be able to self-regulate.

* Strategies for primary and secondary in future issues
Upcoming Events

Community of Practice- Stress and Trauma in Education (Free)

Come and join this drop-in community of practice group that will met virtually throughout the school year. We will discuss current effective strategies and practices to support mental health and well being in students, staff, and parents/caregivers through a trauma sensitive lens. Have an opportunity to network with other educators who are doing this work. Please bring resources to share, discussion topics, questions, and challenges to this informal virtual group.

Clink below to register:
Featured blog

Sara Daniel, MSW, LCSW
What gift will you give?
It's hard to believe but the holiday season will soon be upon us. If you are like me, the stress of thinking about the task of finding meaningful gifts for the people in my life has already begun. And don't even get me started on trying to please two teenage boys without breaking the bank!

But with all of the stress in the world right now, particularly in the field of education, I am starting to think about this time a little differently. Perhaps we need a new perspective on the gifts that we can give to our students, our colleagues, and ourselves. Consider the gifts below:

To students: The gift of slowing down, co-regulating, and helping them to find moments of peace and stillness. To reengage them in the joy of sharing a laugh or being silly.

To colleagues: The gift of listening and empathy. Asking "How are you?" and really hearing the response. Asking follow up questions and checking in again later. Holding space for the celebration of small successes and the frustration of challenges. Supporting them with a task or burden if you can..."I got this for now" and know they would do the same for you.

To ourselves: Now this is a tough one for many of us. Perhaps it is the gift of taking time for yourself. Or the gift of forgiveness and grace toward yourself for any way in which you feel that you have not lived up to your own expectations. Could it be the gift of health and wellbeing by focusing in your own physical or mental health? Or the gift of gratitude by making note of the many blessings in your life.

Whatever gift is needed, it is my hope that it comes to you (and no need to wait to open it!) this season.

To download "What gift will you give?" exercise for individual use or for use in staff meetings, click on link below.
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