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Unlocking Inner Strength: 7 Self-RegulationTechniques for Kids

Emotions are a fundamental part of the human experience. They play a significant role in our daily lives. For children, understanding and managing their emotions can be especially challenging. This is where the concept of self-regulation comes into play.

Teaching kids how to self regulate their emotions empowers them to navigate the ups and downs of life more effectively. Here, we will explore seven easy self-regulation techniques that can help children unlock their inner strength and develop emotional resilience.

In this blog

Mindfulness and Deep Breathing

Emotional Awareness

Create a "Calming" Space

Practice Empathy

Use Positive Affirmations

Implement a Visual Timer

Encourage Problem Solving

Empowering Our Children

Mindfulness and Deep Breathing

One of the most effective self-regulation techniques for kids is mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, recognizing and accepting one's emotions without judgment, and gaining control over them.

Teaching children to practice deep breathing can be a simple yet powerful way to introduce mindfulness into their lives. Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths when they feel overwhelmed or upset. Deep breathing calms the nervous system and helps children regain control of their emotions.

We’ve compiled some simple breathing exercises you can do with your children in several different articles on our blog. If you visit our page on breathing technique you will also find step by step instructions in text and video form.

Emotional Awareness for Self-Regulation

In order to self-regulate emotions, we must first recognize and understand them. Encourage open communication about feelings and emotions. For young children, a visual chart can be helpful in identifying feelings.

When big feelings happen it’s the perfect moment to pause, identify the feeling and work through it together. Providing the tools so they can learn to work through them on their own is empowering and encourages growth and reflection.

Opening the conversation is important. Ask questions like, "How does that make you feel?" or "Can you describe what you're feeling?" By helping children develop emotional awareness, you're laying the foundation for effective self-regulation.

Create a "Calming" Space

Everyone can appreciate a special physical space to retreat and regain composure. Children are certainly no different. All you need is a small space in your home or classroom, a “calming” corner.

Stock it with soothing items like soft blankets or a rug, calming music, warm lighting, and fidget and sensory toys. DIY sensory bottles are among our favorites.

If you want to involve them in the process perhaps ask them to add something of their own choosing from their special things. Think of it as a safe haven, where children can self-regulate by taking a break when their emotions become overwhelming.

Practice Empathy

Teaching emotional regulation can positively impact young children’s ability to be more empathetic to others, even as young as two years, but certainly into early childhood (Laible, et al, 2014). The more children can regulate emotions, the more they can separate their feelings from others’ and this increases the ability to be empathetic to others (Ornagi, et al, 2020)

Having given them the tools to understand and regulate their own emotions, they can now empathize more easily. Encourage them to consider how their actions and words affect others.

Help them understand that everyone experiences emotions, and sometimes, they may inadvertently hurt someone else's feelings. Teaching empathy fosters better self-awareness.

Use Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are short, uplifting statements that can help children shift their mindset and self-regulate. Encourage children to come up with their own affirmations or provide them with some examples.

For instance, "I am strong," "I can handle tough situations," or "I am in control of my emotions." These affirmations can boost their confidence and emotional resilience.

You can practice these in the morning routine while getting ready for the day. One of the more powerful examples we’ve seen is practicing affirmations while in front of the mirror. The caregiver or parent shares an affirmation and then encourages the child to do the sam

Implement a Visual Timer

Visual timers are excellent tools for teaching kids time management and patience, which are crucial aspects of emotional regulation. It’s a great visual reminder for awareness of time.

Use a timer with a clear display to help children understand how much time they have to wait for something or to finish a task. This can reduce impatience and frustration and teach them to manage their emotions more effectively. We love this one.

Encourage Problem Solving

Teach kids to view challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth. Encourage problem-solving by asking questions like, "What can we do to make this better?" or "How can you solve this problem?"

When facing obstacles instead of shutting down and giving up, children will be more prepared to dig in and work the challenge. When children learn to approach difficulties with a problem-solving mindset, they are better equipped to regulate their emotions in stressful situations.

Empowering Our Children

Self-regulation of emotions is a vital skill that empowers children. By incorporating any of these seven techniques into their daily lives, you can help kids recognize their own inner strength and become more emotionally resilient. Remember that self-regulation is an ongoing process. It’s important to remain patient and persistent. Providing a supportive environment and teaching these valuable skills, will help set children on a path to emotional well-being.


Laible, D., Carlo, G., Murphy, T., Augustine, M., and Roesch, S. (2014). Predicting children’s prosocial and co-operative behavior from their temperamental profiles: a person-centered approach. Soc. Dev. 23, 734–752. doi: 10.1111/sode.12072

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