For me understanding how our brain processes emotions, the triggers for the fight, flight or freeze responses in myself and in my kids has transformed my life! I have also seen it transform many parents lives in coaching or in workshops as they understand that their child’s emotional brain is still developing and the ability to put the ‘brakes’ on is not yet mature.
Once we understand how the brain works – (in video above with this model of the Brain In the Hand by Dan Siegel) then we can begin to understand our own emotions and understand our child’s emotions. What is the first sign for you that you are getting annoyed / irritated? What is the first sign in your child? What about for nervousness and excitement? The Emotional Thermometer (in video below) is one of the best tools for developing awareness and understanding of emotions – a very important part of emotional intelligence.
Once we have this understanding and our kids have this understanding then we can begin to learn some mindful calming strategies – from simple 10 second activities to longer 5-10 minute activities suitable for young and old!
If you would like to learn more on the emotions and on calming strategies check out the NEW Understanding Emotions Online Course with short videos that you can access in your own time at your own pace and begin learning the skills needed to teach yourself and your children how to regulate emotions.
Which tool would be helpful in your house – the Flipping The Lid Brain in the hand model or the Emotional Thermometer?
Phew….it’s tricky getting back into getting everyone (including me!) to work and school on time! Something I have found so useful….especially when we are running late and I want to deliver that all-time lecture to the kids!….is to breathe out to the very last bit of air I have at least 3 times! For a more effective calming (&funnier) effect I will even buzz like a bee for 3 full breaths out! The effect of this is amazing….I feel calmer and the whole car atmosphere is alot calmer too (generally kids are laughing)!
These strategies come from an amazing parenting programme called Bringing Up Great Kids where they use the research from Dan Siegel that reflects that just 3 breaths can calm us down enough to begin to respond creatively and calmly to our kids rather than from our usual fight / flight / freeze highly charged response!
Google Flipping the Lid or Brain in the Hand for some great short video explanations of how our brains work and how we can calm them down! It really works! My aim this year is to teach my kids more about how their brain works so they too can learn how to calm them selves down! I’ll keep you posted!