Supporting Big Feelings and Self-Regulation

Supporting Big Feelings and Self-Regulation

Proud Ninja Parents, nothing cuts through the heart of a mom or dad quite like seeing your child in pain. Whether that pain is physical, mental or emotional, seeing your child in a place and space of wrestling with the hard and heavy of life is never easy.

But how can we as parents support our children when they are experiencing deep, emotional responses? Further, how do we as SKILLZ Strong Instructors and Pediatric Ninja Specialists help children grow in their ability to self-regulate when moments test them most? Let’s explore!

· I see you.

When children shift in spirit from a happy, carefree space to “Something is wrong,” there are definite cues in body language, tone of voice, behavior that alert us both as parents and instructors that something has changed and it’s time to support, nurture and advocate for their voice to be heard.

Finding a child’s eyes who is experiencing a heightened emotional response goes a long way in first and foremost connecting with them in their time of need. Even as adults, there is something truly special and comforting about receiving the validation of being seen in a moment of distress, disequilibrium and struggle.

When parents and instructors come alongside a child in their hurt and validate the state of emotion they are in, it gives reassurance and encouragement to the child in that moment that we all have their back and they will not have to figure out what has happened on their own.

· I hear you.

Coming down to a child’s eye level, being with them in the place and space they find themselves in is powerful when taking the intentional and necessary step of understanding what has ignited the emotional response from their perspective.

Listening goes far beyond the words a child is expressing. As their vocabulary develops, it certainly becomes a bit easier with age and time to decipher all of the clues we are given when heightened states of emotional expression arise. Truly listening to the body language of the child as well as considering the factors of what happened within the surroundings are all pieces of a puzzle that can help to unlock the root of the struggle.

Especially in moments of competition where the surge of adrenaline is at its peak, you’ll often see our instructors take a knee, getting down to a child’s level to find their eyes, hear their truth and aid them in working through their big feelings, such as when they're experiencing a loss of the game. The ability to cope with and process emotions takes practice and patience. Remaining consistent in this practice, calm and levelheaded is a must! Remember, being the parent or the instructor a child needs us to be requires us remaining grounded and centered, not joining in the heightened emotional response.

· I feel you.

Proud Ninja Parents, you know your child best. Period. We as instructors have the privilege of coming into your family’s world when you become a part of our tribe, not the other way around.

As a Childhood Development Center, we are committed to the support, nurturing and guidance of the whole child. Providing our students in moments of distress real life support with tools of success to:

1. "Come back to" breath

2. Come back to center

3. Process the events that lead to the distress

4. Hold space until such time regulation is achieved

This all contributes to giving you and your child the support you deserve  while we work to ensure each and every one of our students receive the same level of care, compassion and love. For how they are seen and supported in their moment of struggle, so too will they in turn learn to be there for those they love in their time of need.


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