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Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is a skill. Managing our response to events that trigger strong feelings is easier for some than others. For many of us we learn to regulate our emotions as we grow – we no longer throw a tantrum in a supermarket when we are frustrated or over tired! How easy we find this is dependent on our personality, experiences and environment.

Some people’s early caregivers will have given children and young people the emotional language and coping strategies to manage their feelings fairly well most of the time. Others may have had little guidance to manage this, or may have additional needs that make this harder.

Because emotional regulation is a skill it can be practised and improved upon to some extent throughout life.

Learning to control our emotions makes life easier and allows us take ownership of our reactions to difficult experiences.

School has an important role to play in supporting children to regulate their emotions.

When young people can better manage their feelings and frustrations they can build positive relationships and fully access their education. 

 

  • School cultures where talking about and managing emotions is an everyday occurrence allow children and young people to develop an emotional language. This encourages children and young people to voice their feelings rather than acting them out.

    Teachers often have a ringside seat to children and young people’s struggles with emotional regulation.

    • They are in a good position to notice changes in behaviours and triggers for outbursts. This may be new behaviour and can indicate a child is struggling for any number of reasons at school or at home – and needs exploring.
    • Other children and young people will be ‘well known’ for their acting out behaviours.

    A consistent message to give is that no emotion is ‘wrong’. Supporting pupils to learn how to manage feelings positively can make a difference to how children and young people react. Some children will find this harder than others for a range of reasons including those children who have diagnosed additional needs – however everyone can benefit from the opportunity to reflect on how they react to difficult experiences. For some this might work in a whole class context whilst others will need individual time to make sense of how they can better regulate their emotions.

    Helping children and young people learn to regulate their emotions does not have to be time consuming or complicated

    • Whenever an opportunity arises discuss emotions using a range of ‘feelings’ word.
    • Help children identify the changes in their body that come with a feeling; early warnings of anger like feeling hot or anxiety making the heart beat faster.
    • Help children come up with strategies to help when a ‘difficult feeling’ is building – like taking time out, doing a breathing exercise.
    • Support and remind children to use their strategies – and praise and reinforce effort even if it doesn’t always work out.

    Getting parents and carers involved will make interventions more likely to succeed. You could signpost families to the free online Solihull Course.

    Some children may struggle to make any change. This might mean they are;

    • Not able to contain their feelings - posing a risk to themselves or others.
    • Not able to build or maintain relationships.
    • Not able to access their education because of their behaviour.

    There is a wealth of information to help schools support children regulate emotion and many children will benefit greatly from this. Self regulation is an important skill that impacts on every aspect of life even small changes can make a big difference going forward.

     

  • Anna Freud resources:

    The CARE animation is a short animation for all school and college staff that recognises the importance of supporting children and young people’s mental health in schools and colleges, and offers a simple principle for staff to remember; CARE. (Curious, Approachable, Refer, Empathy).  It is aimed at all School staff, including including support staff and those who may not have direct contact with pupils. The animation can be used in one of the following ways:

    1. On a staff training day. 
    2. In a staff briefing or team meeting.
    3. Send the animation and resources out in a staff bulletin.

    You can watch the CARE animation and download the accompanying guidance and poster at www.annafreud.org/careanimation.

    Mentally Healthy Schools is a free website where schools can find a range of information and resources to help school staff understand, promote and deal confidently with children's mental health issues.

    'All Our Health' free, bite-sized e-learning sessions (Public Health England) - to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing.

    The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health including;

    • Childhood obesity 
    • Pollution
    • Alcohol misuse
    • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

    They contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.

    Shelf Help:

    • My Hidden Chimp - Professor Steve Peters
    • Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life For Teens - Sheri Van Dijk
    • Stuff That Sucks, A Teens Guide To Accepting What You Can't Change And Committing To What You Can - Ben Sedley
    • Mind Your Head - Juno Dawson

    Norfolk County Council Libraries – have a wide range of books on managing feelings.

How Can We Help?

Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays.

Referrals for support are made by contacting Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Please make sure you have the consent of the parent and / or young person before you make a referral to us. You do not need to fill out any paperwork prior to this call.

Referrals are made via the telephone to enable us to have an informative conversation with you at the point of referral so we can ensure we have all the required information for early triage and assessment of the child, young person or family. This will ensure the referral gets managed by the appropriate team in a more timely way or we can signpost you to a more appropriate service.

ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.

Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.

Just One Norfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on Apple or Android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.

Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.

Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through Just One Norfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules. Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting karin.bibby@nhs.net. While COVID-19 restrictions are in place please contact Karin Bibby to register your interest in virtual training as this becomes available.

Helpful Pages to Share with Families

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