Another way that we develop emotional regulation skills from a young age is by learning about facial expressions, communication, and using calming input to help with regulation. For an infant, this may include the baby playing with a mirror nearby to start to make sense of faces. This could also include using soothing sounds, rocking your baby, or singing to the baby. As your baby grows into a toddler, he or she may begin to be more interested in faces and creating different facial expressions through play activities. Providing appropriate tools for calming will also be helpful during this time. As your child continues to grow, you want to model emotional regulation skills; talk about feelings and emotions, and let your child know that it’s okay to feel your feelings! No feeling is ever “wrong” or “invalid”. Provide strategies that may be calming when your child is overcome with big feelings, such as deep breathing, yoga, a stress ball, hugs, or a calming corner. Sensory input can be really helpful when feelings are overwhelming, so refer back to the sensory post from yesterday for more sensory tools.
Books are also a great way to incorporate learning about emotions and regulation strategies! We’ve added a list of books that we have found useful for helping a child to understand his or her emotions.