Do you know the easiest way to help teach your child self-regulation strategies?

Narrate your day

Do you know the easiest way to help teach your child self-regulation strategies? Narrate your day! One of the first things we want to teach our children is to recognize and identify their feelings. That’s a super complex skill so most parents don’t even know where to start. Should we use emotions flash cards with different facial expressions? Watch Daniel Tiger videos? Are there certain books to read or workbooks to do? Whew- that sounds like a lot of effort. Try this instead.

text: teach self-regulation
text: more feelings words
text: examples of "I statements"

Model the use of “I statements” throughout your day. Recognize and identify your own feelings. Out loud in simple vocabulary to model for your kids.

I feel happy because I am doing a puzzle with you.

I am tired because it’s been a long day.

I feel peaceful when we get out the door on time in the morning.

I feel frustrated when I have to repeat myself so many times.

I am stressed when everyone is talking at the same time.

I feel joyful when we all eat dinner together as a family.

It feels pretty weird to say these things out loud. Especially doing it multiple times a day. But what is the best way to teach your child all these feelings words? In real life! Teaching in contrived settings like books, movies, or flash cards is fine but real life is so much more valuable.

The next step would be to recognize and identify your child’s feelings. You can’t crawl in their head and know exactly how they are feeling but as their mom you can probably make a pretty good guess based on what is going on in that moment. And if you are wrong? Hopefully your child will begin to correct you. Then they are identifying their own emotions- which is the goal!

You seem happy because you are smiling so big while I push you on the swing.

You look frustrated because you are stomping your feet.

You seem peaceful when we are holding hands like this.

You look upset with the face you are making.

You might be disappointed because you didn’t get the thing you wanted.

We need to go beyond just the words happy and sad. In narrating your own day and guessing your child’s emotions, can you get more creative with your labels without going too far off the deep end?

Here is your cheat sheet. Use these statements. Add a because or a when to explain your emotions or your guess at your child’s feelings.

I feel _______.

I am ________.

You look ______.

You seem ______.

And here are some emotion words to try to mix in and go beyond just happy or sad. There are so many more feelings words, but let’s not make our mom jobs harder. Pick a few and try to mix them in.

  • Appreciative
  • Bored
  • Calm
  • Disappointed
  • Enthusiastic
  • Excited
  • Frustrated
  • Glad
  • Grateful/ Thankful
  • Peaceful
  • Stressed
  • Unhappy
  • Upset

Steps to follow to work on starting with self-regulation techniques.

  1. Narrate your day with I statements: I feel _____. I am ____.
  2. Identify and recognize your child’s emotions and do a best guess at naming it for them. You seem _____. You look ____.
  3. Go beyond happy and sad and mix in more feelings words.

Try it out! Let me know how it goes using your “I statements”!