is the ability to monitor and manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We are all doing it all the time. And it is essential for social and academic success.
Learning to self-regulate is one of the big jobs of early childhood and a key component of social-emotional development along with self-awareness, emotional intelligence and self-control. Adventure Skills are simple techniques your children or students, and you, can use throughout the day to self-care and self-regulate. Why? Because it is profoundly empowering for a child to know they tools to help themselves feel and perform better, focus and stay on task as needed, calm and soothe themselves when upset, and redirect their anger and frustration in a positive way.
At Move with Me, we help kids learn to self-regulate by embedding Adventure Skills into our Scooter & Me movement stories. When kids learn these exercises in a play-filled, narrative and emotional context, they make sense. So, along with the boy when he is confused, or with possum when she is afraid, or with scooter when she is sad, children practice different adventure skills to both support and help themselves manage their emotions. Then, after doing just one mind-body or breathing exercise, that has child-friendly name such as Monkey Wisdom and Elephant Ears, kids feel re-empowered and thus, able to make a smart choice, or overcome an obstacle.
How to help kids learn self-regulation skills?
What you can do to help kids learn to self-regulate is reinforce the use of the Adventure Skills in their lives by regularly inviting them to self-reflect and self-care. In other words, throughout the day with your whole group, and individually as needed, pause from activity and ask kids to notice and name how they are being or feeling. Help them of course with appropriate mirroring and words if needed. And then lead them in an adventure skill or ask them which adventure skill they’d like to use. Afterward, ask them to name any differences they notice. And share any differences you notice. Maybe they are more focused or settled or creative or friendly. Maybe a task was easier or a new skill mastered.
That’s what the Adventure Skills are all about – growing kids confidence and self-esteem by giving them the tools they need to manage their feelings and make wise, healthy choices.