This time its all about regulation. And more specifically, Self-regulation and CO-regulation. So much is written about regulation, but what exactly is it?
Self – Regulation is our ability to manage our own internal states, and is based on our ability to process the world around us. All sensations have an emotional response, and when our sensations are over or under stimulated, this impacts our level of alertness, emotions, and ability to manage our own reactions and behaviours. There are many ways to assist children to meet their sensory needs, and yet, sometimes this isn’t enough.
Have you ever wondered my your little ones may react very negatively to some people, yet go overboard to get the attention of others? Or why your internal danger music can start to play when your kids are distressed or in danger, even if you cant see them? Or why happiness and enthusiasm is contagious? Or why your kids may be ‘off’ on precisely the day you really DON’T want them to be…
This is the awesomeness of CO-regulation.
Co-regulation is our ability to tune into others, or, the phenomenon where our state of regulation can be influenced by the state of another. And it is all about Mirror Neurons. Mirror neurons are part of our very primitive brain. Studies have shown that during interactions with others, there will be similar brain activity in BOTH people. When one person experiences an emotion for example, there is mirroring brain activity in their interactional partner.
Co-regulation is our greatest asset. As a parent, teacher, carer, friend or therapist, we can use our own internal states and regulation to assist children to feel calm, confident and able to interact on new levels. When we are calm, settled and focused on fun, our children will thrive. When we are able to label their emotions and validate their experience, it creates a common ground. And most importantly, when we can see inside the child, see their true potential, and then delight in fun and laughter, we create a lasting bond.
When a child has fun, they have a rush of endorphins and chemistry which immediately decreases any stress they are feeling. When you join in that fun, this rush multiplies! Fun also releases oxytocin – the LOVE hormone.. and we can never have too much of that! and just as awesomely, the chemistry we feel when we have fun, is the same chemistry we need for learning.
So breathe, slow down, connect, laugh and have fun with your kids. Magic happens in moments of lightness.