Co-regulation refers to the way that we reference another’s emotional state to calm ourselves. Within the context of the parent-child relationship this is happening regularly, rapidly and
often without words or conscious thought. It is fairly automatic. The child feels distress and looks at the parent to shore herself up. Closely observing nonverbal signals such as facial expression, eye contact, tone, pitch and volume of voice, breathing pattern and posture, the child mirrors the calm or stress she witnesses.
This information can feel intimidating as we realize how often we are being scrutinized, especially by our little ones. Young children have the brain capacity for very big feelings and body sensations, but very little cognitive software to manage these feelings. However, do not despair. This human dynamic holds great opportunity! If you can get more thoughtful
and deliberate about your emotional state and your ability to self-calm, you can significantly impact your child, and sometimes without even a word!
These self-calming behaviors or “regulation” tools not only aid your child, but feel good to you. And they can be practiced any time. In our parent sessions I teach simple, user-friendly self-regulating actions parents can employ within 1 to 3 minutes. The real challenge is tuning in to notice your stress signs and those of your child.
Parent counseling sessions provide the time and space to identify your stress signals and practice the regulating tools that work best for you. To learn more, contact me by phone at 303-223-0727 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary phone consultation.