Let’s face it Moms, parenting a toddler can be TOUGH sometimes, and it’s easy to wonder if you’re doing it “right” and if there are things you could be doing to make a difficult situation easier – especially in the heat of the moment. We sat down with Bryana Kappa, parenting expert and owner of South Bay Mommy & Me, to give us her tips on tackling two issues we all face while parenting – self regulation and diffusing tantrums.
Self-regulation is necessary in order to help our children regulate their emotions. Without it, children often feel insecure in our ability to help them calm down. In fact, children require co-regulation with someone supportive until their brain reaches fully emotional maturity, which experts now say is 30 years old! 🧠 The notion that children should independently calm their own emotions is not based in science. This must be addressed if we want to improve child-parent relationships.
If I’m not experiencing difficult emotions in my own home, I’m seeing it in my office. I have witnessed first hand the power of a parent’s regulation in a stressful moment: usually pretty quickly, the child feels contained and the emotions are more manageable. I have also seen the detrimental effects a parent’s dysregulation has on the child’s ability to cope.
Learning how to self-regulate is a process that takes time, patience, and practice. I like to help parents get out of their heads and into their bodies, as this can be one of the most effective ways to regulate while under stress or pressure. Perhaps start by relaxing your shoulders, unclenching your jaw, taking a Buddha belly breath, feeling your feet on the floor, or orienting to your immediate 5 senses. I like to start with one of these techniques, and then see if I need more until I’m feeling centered. With practice, this process takes about 3-5 seconds, and can be life-changing when you’re managing the many emotions of young children.
While the AWE method does not replace the necessary self-work (like self-regulation), it definitely helps diffuse the tension and helps get both you and your child regulated.
When we acknowledge the big emotions in an authentic way, we help our children feel seen and feel heard. This 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘴 the need to fight back, whereas invalidating the emotions empowers their anger.
Then, we need to wait. We need to take a breath, feel our feet on the ground, and regulate. This is the hardest part of the 3-steps.
Once we’re regulated, then we can engage with our child and connect through co-regulation. Our child requires our regulation to help them feel better. Here, we can set a simple limit, offer a gentle redirection, or support the problem-solving process. When we do this with warmth and compassion, our children feel safe and trust our ability to guide them.
I do an extensive training on this method in my new e-course 𝘙𝘢𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘓𝘪𝘬𝘦. Join the waitlist (www.raisingchildrenyoulike.com) – it’s free to join and you get perks for doing so. If you are local with a child under 2, join one of my Mommy and Me groups. My monthly parenting group for parents of children 2-5 yrs is sold out, but stay tuned to my IG @southbaymommyandme for any openings that group may have in the future.