The ability to control and adjust emotion and behaviour is part of self-regulation. Most people have tools to cope with demanding situations in ways that are socially acceptable. Self-regulation skills are important for children because they can help the child to cope with difficult or stressful situations, such as loss of a pet, death of a family member, etc.
For most children, self-regulation will be challenging at some stage in their development. For instance, when your child is tired, hungry or going through new experiences, they may feel upset, irritable or angry. This is not necessarily a cause for concern; unless it occurs so frequently that it begins to impact your child’s academic performance or other essential life areas.
You can tell there are problems with self regulation if your child:
- Is under-reactive to certain sensations (e.g. not noticing name being called, being touched, high pain threshold).
- Appears lethargic/disinterested; appearing to mostly be in their ‘own world’.
- Has difficulty regulating their own behavioural and emotional responses; increased tantrums, emotional reactive, need for control, impulsive behaviours, easily frustrated or overly compliant.
- Has tantrums that last for longer than typical
- The number of tantrums or behavioural episodes per day is more than typical
- Is difficult to discipline
- Typical behavioural strategies are ineffective.
- Is easily distracted, shows poor attention and concentration.
- Has poor sleep patterns.
- Has difficulty accepting changes in routine or transitioning between tasks.
- Has difficulty engaging with peers and sustaining friendships.
If your child is experiencing some or all of the above, contact one of our pediatric occupational therapists today! Our occupational therapists are trained to work with children by using specialized therapy programs. For instance, they can practice role playing with your child to teach appropriate ways to act and interact in possible scenarios. Working with an occupational therapist will help your child regulate for sleep, follow instructions at school, manage social engagements, cope in busy environments, and much more.
To learn more about occupational therapy for behaviour and emotion control, simply call Karp Rehabilitation at 604-420-7800!