Regulating our emotions is a skill. Some of us learn to regulate our emotions as we grow up. For example, when a child spills their drink they may be distraught, but as they grow up they no longer become upset by this and instead learn to pick up the cup, clean up the mess and get a new drink.
We are all different so some people find it easier than others to regulate their emotions. It is also important to remember that at times everyone struggles to manage their emotions.
Younger children in particular will need your support to regulate their emotions. This can also be true of older children, particularly in times of crisis.
There are many reasons why some children and young people find it harder to self-regulate than others, including:
- Adverse childhood experiences in early life, such as being adopted or looked after, prolonged stressful events, poverty, or other traumatic experiences.
- Children who have additional needs, e.g. social communication difficulties, ADHD or sensory processing difficulties.
- Temperament – some children are more reactive than others.
- Physical needs not being met, e.g. hungry or tired.