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Self-regulation exercises for children

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CBT exercises and coping strategies for children how to deal with anxiety and stress

Por: Jideon F Marques

INTRODUCTION

Teaching children how to identify, understand, and be in control of their thinking, mood, and behavior is crucial to their ability to self-regulate. This book introduces these skills in a child-friendly manner through both story and activities. While this workbook is intended for children ages eight through eleven, the tools and skills, especially those related to identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts, are valuable for people of all ages and may be advanced for children younger than eight.

When children struggle with self-regulation, it often leads to behaviors that make them feel even worse and create stressful situations for others. While children typically regret such behavior and don’t want to repeat it, they likely don’t have the skills to be able to react differently when faced with a similar trigger in the future. This workbook helps children to develop the skills to be able to:

• Identify, understand, and express their feelings

• Learn to calm their body

• Identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts

• Identify unhelpful behavior and more adaptive choices they can make instead

• Identify and prepare for situations that may be tricky for them to navigate

These skills are the foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based treatment that helps people to improve their functioning when dealing with a wide range of problems. Through CBT—which has a decades-old canon of nonproprietary clinical terms and techniques that are elaborated upon throughout this book—people can learn how to recognize their triggers, become aware of their Automatic Thoughts and responses to them, and learn more adaptive ways of thinking and reacting.

In this workbook, a character named Alex will tell the story of his journey learning and using different tools and techniques to take control of his feelings. There are a number of activities to help your child learn, practice, and internalize the concepts. Read Alex’s story aloud with your child and support them in completing the activities. There are side notes for grown-ups throughout the book, which is applicable to teachers, mentors, and clinicians as well as parents and caregivers to support their work with kids. These are not intended to be read with your child. While none of the information provided in these side notes would be harmful for a child to learn, they are directed toward adults and are likely to be confusing and boring for them. Alex is a fictional and hypothetical character. Any resemblance he may bear toward an actual child or children is purely coincidental. All of the lessons provided in the book work for Alex, whereas each and every tool or technique may not be efficacious for your child.

Keep in mind that developing a skill takes time and practice. Be patient and provide your child with the necessary support to be able to use these skills in their everyday environment. This can include verbal reminders, visual reminders, and actually going through the steps of a skill or plan with them.

Spelling, grammar, and penmanship don’t count when it comes to exercises to help manage emotions. If these are challenging or triggering for your child, consider allowing them to complete the exercises verbally and then writing their responses. If that is difficult for your child, you can read the text together and make up other ways to process and further explore the content, such as acting it out or telling a story about it with toys. Meet your child where they’re at and adapt the lessons for them. Simply thinking and talking about tricky or unmanageable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is challenging enough!

It is important for you and your child to further discuss the content of the book and find opportunities to connect it to real-life situations, both while reading and as you’re living your lives. Additionally, practice the skills repeatedly to help your child internalize them. This will support your child’s ability to access the tools when they are actually faced with intense emotions that are difficult to manage.

Even when a child has made progress, he or she will continue at times to make mistakes and act on their overwhelming emotions—or allow their “feelings to get in control.” These instances can be opportunities to continue learning and growing. Taking control of feelings is a lifelong process. Even I, a grown-up who helps people manage their emotions for a living, have moments when my feelings get in control and I react in ways that I regret later! This is part of being human. Anticipating this can help make these moments more tolerable. It’s stressful for your child when this happens as well. Be sure to instill messages that decrease feelings of shame. When children have difficulty with self-regulation, they often get messages that their behavior is bad, and they develop an underlying belief that they are bad. Help your child understand that even when their behavior is not good at times, they are always a good person who has strengths. Regulating emotions is hard. It’s harder for some people than it is for others, and that’s okay. You will work together to help your child build the skills to be able to regulate emotions better.

Chapter 1 will help your child to expand their emotions vocabulary, understand that it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions, think about what triggers these emotions and how they affect their functioning, and view emotions as something that they can do something about. Having a larger emotions vocabulary can help a child more accurately identify and understand both their experiences and the experiences of others. This improves a child’s ability to manage their emotions and develop healthier relationships. Learning that it is normal to experience a wide range of feelings can help children to feel more comfortable acknowledging and addressing their own emotions and to be more empathetic and tolerant when interacting with others.

Chapter 2 will teach your child to think about the intensity of their emotions. Increased awareness of the ability to experience both pleasant and unpleasant feelings at different levels of intensity can help your child to work toward having less frequent big reactions to small triggers and to calm down more quickly.

Chapter 3 will help your child to differentiate between experiences, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We live in a society that tends to jumble up these things. It is important to realize that our thoughts and feelings are not facts. This will set the foundation for your child to be able to do the work later.

Chapter 4 will teach your child to recognize the way that emotions effect their body.

Chapter 5 will teach a number of tools that can help your child to relax and take control of those feelings in their body. Calming down automatic physical responses to emotions will help your child to improve their ability to control their reactions.

Chapter 6 will teach your child to be able to notice their Automatic Thoughts and recognize when they are unhelpful.

Chapter 7 will teach your child how to challenge and reshape their unhelpful thoughts. The ability to identify and challenge unhelpful thinking can allow your child to view stressful situations more clearly and navigate them more effectively.

Chapter 8 will help your child increase their awareness of the fact that their actions are choices that they can thoughtfully make. After your child develops an understanding of their ability to have an urge and be in control at the same time.

Chapter 9 will introduce them to tools that can support their ability to choose their actions.

Chapters 10 and 11 will help your child to connect all of the tools and insights that they developed as they completed the earlier sections of the workbook. In Chapter 10, your child will write a story about a time when their feelings were in control. Through this activity, your child will further process and internalize the connection between a trigger, their Automatic Thoughts about it, emotions, and reactions. In Chapter 11, your child will rewrite that same story by inserting the coping skills learned to manage the same unhelpful automatic thoughts and urges. If your child writes this story about a trigger that is actually challenging for them to deal with, this can help them prepare to deal with a similar trigger when they are faced with it in the future. Writing stories about coping with common triggers in a healthy manner and reviewing these stories can help your child to internalize the insights, tools, and skills that can be helpful in such situations. This will support their ability to recall this information and apply it to real-life situations.

Chapter 12 provides your child with a helpful self-statement and image to instill a sense of empowerment in their ability to navigate the stressors that come their way.

If your child continues to struggle with self-regulation, seek the support of a trained mental health clinician. Therapy can help you and your child to process and understand their unique, complex thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Additionally, having your child complete a neuropsychological evaluation can help to better understand the lagging skills contributing to their difficulties so that you can get them set up with the appropriate supports.

Ebook (epub)
R$ 51,87

Tema: Medicina Alternativa, Medicina, Infantil Palavras-chave: adhd, ating, autism, breathing, can, care, cbt, child, children, control, coping, depression, exercise, exercises, exposed, for, in, is, kids, learn, me, mindfulness, near, of, self, skills, symptoms, teenagers, to, tre, treatment, treatments, violence, what, with

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