How to Teach Self-Regulation to Your Toddler - Montessori preschool Winnetka - Little Wonders Montessori One

How to Teach Self-Regulation to Your Toddler

As the parent of a toddler, you’re familiar with the importance of those early developmental years. Toddlers are starting to explore the world around them on their own feet, and reflect back what they observe. It can be disheartening to watch them pick up poor behavior, or throw tempers when they don’t know how to express their flaring emotions.

You can help your toddler through these tough situations by introducing them to emotional self-regulation. If they aren’t attending a preschool designed to teach self-regulation, such as Little Wonders Montessori One, a Montessori preschool in Winnetka, you might find the two simple methods below helpful.

  1. Introduce deep breathing through bubble blowing

When your toddler is recovering from a tantrum or is wound tight from a stressful day, they might find it beneficial to blow bubbles. This acts as a meditative practice that has the same benefits of deep breathing. Your toddler will find that they can’t blow bubbles unless they control their breathing to slow, but not too slow exhales.

After your toddler blows several bubbles and visibly relaxes, ask how they feel. Try to guide them toward realizing that they’re capable of calming their own anger. After they’ve calmed, you can discuss the situation that made their emotions flare, and help them see that problems are easier to solve when they’re not angry.

  1. Read and discuss books about self-regulation

Mindfulness books are an excellent addition to your toddler’s library, including reading recommendations from preschools that emphasize personal responsibility and independence. You can help your toddler internalize self-control by reading books about characters properly coping with emotions. 

Illustrated stories can hold their attention as they subconsciously absorb examples of good behavior. How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? by Jane Yolen is a great read for children to learn about the right and wrong ways to express anger and frustration. 

There are a myriad of reading lists for self-regulation books online for you to peruse. You would do well to check parent reviews for content warnings, such as books that don’t explicitly state bad behavior is bad. You don’t want your toddler to associate poor coping methods, such as running away from home for alone time, with inner discipline.

After reading each book, ask your toddler what they thought. What was their favorite part of the story? Did they think “me too!” when they read a particular scene? You can ask simple questions to understand what they took away.

Show your toddler they have the power to control themselves

Bubble blowing and storytelling are only two ways to demonstrate proper self-control. A more holistic approach is to surround your toddler with countless opportunities to hone their emotional independence without hovering over them. You can do this by sending your toddler to a school structured to teach self-regulation and confidence, such as the Montessori preschool in Winnetka.

Montessori preschools are specialized to help children grow into self-disciplined and self-driven individuals. Children are given the freedom to explore their interests as they please, on their own or with other students of mixed ages, giving them a range of experiences. They’ll have hands-on practice with self-regulation in a safe space, and under the guiding eye of an authentic Montessori teacher. 

Little Wonders Montessori One’s mission is to preserve and enhance the educational journey of a child. Contact us to learn more about our curriculum and programs.

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