Finding the emotional-regulation strategy that works best for your child is all about trial, error, and observation. Have you noticed which emotional-regulation strategies you personally use in moments of need? Do you take deep breaths, call a friend, go for a walk, put on your favorite song and dance it out, or go on a run? We need to observe our children to see what kinds of strategies they naturally gravitate toward and remind them to use these tools when they are struggling.
For example, if a moment of anger arises and they tend to want a hug or to retreat to their calming corner, you can remind them of this option when they become too upset to think clearly enough for themselves. Amy Shohet, a licensed clinical social worker for the early-childhood program Healthy Homes, suggests using the five senses as a guide. For some children, regulating activities might be auditory (i.e. singing, music), for others, it could be tactile (i.e. Play-Doh, weighted blanket), for many, it could be movement (i.e. rocking, walking), and so on. If you can encourage children to take a minute to meditate and reflect at an early age, it will definitely pay off when they get older.