Emotional Regulation Activities for Tweens and Teens

Even though self-emotional regulation is a difficult ability for many children, research has shown that games and engaging activities may help promote greater self-regulation or Emotional Regulation and help children who are suffering.

It’s also critical for children to have caregivers who can keep things in perspective, coach them through challenging situations, show empathy when they’re suffering from self-control, and build responsive connections that help them develop self-control and self-esteem.

Games and therapeutic tools that promote planning and problem solving, patience, memory, attention, motor control, and sequencing can assist children in developing the ability to self-regulate in the face of adversity. Calming techniques, self-awareness exercises, and mindfulness activities can all help in the development of self-control.

The Effective Emotional Regulation Activities for Youth(tweens and teens)? | What are a few Emotional Regulation Activities for youngsters?

1. Scanning full body

Encourage kids to take a full-body scan to help them relax and refocus. Allow them to lie down, close their eyes, and concentrate on whatever they are feeling in their bodies, as well as any emotions they are experiencing. Their physical surroundings might be neutralized to let them focus on their emotions.  Studies have shown that even brief periods of this type of meditation can be beneficial.

2. Relaxing the muscles

Students isolate, then tense, and release distinct muscles in their bodies in this practice. Progressive muscular relaxation tells the body where it is in space, which is beneficial for emotionally dysregulated teenagers and tweens. It’s a terrific stress reliever, and it’s even been proven to aid teenage guys with rage and violence. Ask students to make a list of their emotions and place them on their shoulders. Make them tense. Hold for 5 seconds before releasing the position. Wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, and toes should all be wrapped in the same way. Feelings should become more bearable, if not completely gone.

3. Breathing activities

Breathwork training can help all kids learn, but it’s especially beneficial for children with executive functioning issues. Here are the three ways of doing some breathing practices.

  • Dragon-breathing: Assist youngsters in achieving calm via mindful breathing, a technique that may assist us all in stressful times. Dragon breathing is a highly powerful emotional regulation method and one of our favorite techniques to help youngsters release anxiety and tension.

This yoga exercise’s extended exhale develops a critical self-control skill: aware breathing. We can generate a relaxation response by exhaling for prolonged periods (parasympathetic nervous system).

  • Directed breathing: Breathwork and directed breathing practices are essential tools for self-regulation. A breathing ball is an excellent tool for Psychosocial development and emotional self-regulation because it helps us visualize each inhale and exhale, which helps us focus on our breath.

Deep breathing is another beneficial technique. While we frequently use this emotional regulation approach to warm up before one of our musical yoga expeditions, it is also an excellent strategy for helping children with autism deal with difficult emotions.

  • Bubble breathing: When children are feeling emotionally dysregulated, this is an excellent method since it gives oxygen to the brain, which may help them think better and make better decisions. (It’s also soothing when youngsters are getting ready to go to bed.) Bubble breaths are a variant of deep breathing that helps calm fight or flight tendencies (driven by the sympathetic nervous system) by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Students should follow the following instructions for Emotional Regulation:

Breathe in slowly via your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds, and then exhale slowly and controllably through your mouth. (Important: Hold the inhale breath for a longer period than the exhale breath.)

Repeat, noting how you feel with each breath.

4. Create a space or move to a ‘calm down’ spot

The most important skill in regulating difficult emotions, and the greatest gift we can give ourselves is to pause. Take a deep breath. Slow down the time between the trigger and the reaction.

A calm-down space provides students with a place to go when emotions like anger, sorrow, or anxiety arise, and these places are frequently incorporated in the design of trauma-informed classrooms. It provides a dedicated area for students to practice emotional-regulation skills in the classroom rather than in isolation, and it deepens the educator-student connection by expressing to students that they belong in the classroom community no matter what. Dim lighting, an MP3 player with calming music and headphones, stress balls, pens and paper, affirmation lists, and even aromas, such as lavender and vanilla, can be provided in the cool-down area.

5. Self-affirmations

Positive affirmations have been demonstrated to increase executive function skills, including working memory, but they demand a lot of mental effort and energy, as well as practice.

The steps for positive self-talk are simple: Tell your pupils that anytime they have a bad idea about themselves, they may replace it with an affirmation, such as “I am a wonderful person, no matter what anybody says or does.” Remind them that positive self-talk, like everything else, may become a habit if they practice it consistently.

6. Journaling and writing down 

Tell them to do the daily journaling, writing down the emotions in the diary. 

Keeping a daily notebook may be a good method for youngsters who can write to reflect on the events of the day. This type of practice is also beneficial for youngsters who want to enhance their time management and working memory abilities.

7. Halt when needed

Teach children the HALTED method to help them figure out what is upsetting them. Of course, this works best with older children who can spell, but the main concept is to check in with oneself using the term HALTED.

  • H – Am I hungry?
  • A – Am I upset? 
  • L – Am I lonely? 
  • T – Am I tired? 
  • E – Am I embarrassed?
  • D – Am I dissatisfied?

For more Education related articles, you may also like; How do you enhance the Executive Function Skills of students by asking questions?

8. Yoga with partners

By fostering cooperation and communication skills, collaborative activities promote social-emotional learning. Partner yoga positions, for example, promote focused listening and expression, self-awareness, and connection, all of which help with emotional control.

Allow youngsters to use their imaginations while leading them to safe partner postures. Perhaps your children might benefit from beginning with active transportation yoga positions (such as a Pirate Ship!)

9. Emotion volcano

When a youngster is struggling with uncontrolled secondary emotions, anger is frequently the emotion that bursts. Students will learn about these emotions and what happens when they pile up in this project.

The volcano symbolizes our emotions as a metaphorical container. The “lava” depicts our deepest feelings. When the volcano “erupts,” it’s a metaphor for a major emotional outburst, such as a tantrum or a meltdown — a “feelings explosion!” Children, in my experience, adore completing this activity.

10. Staying mindful makes a lot of difference

There are several ways to create mindfulness in kids. We suggest you create a safe environment for self-control activities (ie. a corner where children can spend time releasing tension)

Kids and young adults frequently don’t know how to “simply be” in our fast-paced environment. Mindfulness may be an excellent option in this case. While learning to be more mindful isn’t a quick cure, it may help kids and young adults who are present in the moment, feel calmer, enhance attention, and better control emotions.

Another excellent exercise is mindful coloring, which entails only coloring and no other interaction. I’ve created a series of Mindfulness Activities to assist students to enhance their mindfulness abilities over time.

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