Helping Your Child with Self-Regulation (pre-school aged)

Children can struggle with self-regulation skills; it is helpful to be able to identify when our children are overwhelmed/overstimulated/under stimulated and assist in developing their own coping skills in order to be able to self-regulate. Every child regulates differently, so here are some popular options that may help.


Help your child identify how they are feeling

A color chart can be helpful for our little’s big emotions. Caregivers can help teach their children the color chart though modeling and pretend play; acting out situations that would make the adult and the child feel emotions on the chart.

Blue: Sad

Green: Happy

Yellow: Annoyed

Red: Angry


Deep Pressure/ Hugs

Some children enjoy a good hug and squeeze when they are upset. Caregivers can provide children the space to just be held without discussing the situation.


Deep breaths

Some children enjoy taking 3-5 deep breaths to calm themselves; caregivers can encourage this by joining in on the deep breathing exercise.



Some children enjoy finding a fidget toy when they are upset or Chewlery on what’s called Chrelwey (similar to babies teething toys). There are a plethora of different fidget toys and Chewlery that can be found in stores and online, but be sure to find one that is age appropriate for your child.


Get your child moving

Some children need to release pent-up energy and it may be beneficial to provide some age appropriate physical activities as a distraction and outlet.

Helping caregivers pick up around the home. Caregivers can make a game out of picking up; set up a timer and see who can pick up the fastest

Pretend to be animals. Caregivers and children can pretend to be different animals; ex: pretending to be a frog jumping up and down, a bear and bear crawl, a dinosaur and stomp around.



Self-regulation skills can take children time to master; be patient with your child, be reassuring and offer support, let them know that it’s okay to feel big feelings, but it’s what we do with those big feelings that matters.


Follow this link for additional information on helping children with self-regulation skills