Happy Learners - Emotional Regulation

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Emotional Regulation

Regulating our emotions is an ability that we all struggle with at times. We will all have experienced being overwhelmed by anxiety, thoughts and events that are often out of our control. As adults we have good language skills which can help us work through our difficulty by talking to friends, family and colleagues. We also have life experience that we can draw upon. For children the only way of communicating their distress and anxiety is through emotional outbursts.

Managing children with difficulties in emotional regulation requires careful, considerate and compassionate responses. Management can be divided into proactive and reactive actions.


Reactive strategies

When the child is distraught or being aggressively angry they may respond to one or more of the following strategies:



Proactive strategies

This is about providing the child with activities and skills to help them be more able to emotionally regulate. Activities need to be taught and practiced when the child is calm relaxed and cooperative. Adult time is required to teach and support the child develop these skills and to embed them through regular practice over several weeks. Strategies that can be helpful include:

For older children and young people may also benefit from:


You may also be interested in the following pages:

Anger Management Resources

Self Calming Strategies

Sensory Needs