Self-Regulating as a Parent: Resources to Calm Down

Do you find yourself yelling, spanking, or simply feeling full of anger when your child does ANYTHING?! As mom this is the worst feeling because it seems like there is NOTHING you can do. You wish that you knew how to self-regulate, so you can show up as the calm parent you want to be.

I totally get it. As a recovering rage-filled parent… I am familiar with these contradicting feelings. I would have given anything to have these self-regulation resources, so I could be a better parent.

This is actually what led me to become a Jai Certifed Parent Coach….. but, that’s a story for another day.

This post is actually inspired by a comment that I received on YouTube. It was in regard to this mom who was feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated touched out. I think so many moms feel just like this mom, and they want to feel self-regulated. They want to feel like they can handle their kids like they were made to do this.

Let’s get into my Beginner’s Guide to Self-Regulating as a Parent

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I felt so many of these confusing emotions prior to attending Parent Coaching School a year ago. And I really believed that I was going to be this impulsive, angry, rage-filled parent forever.

When this subscriber on Youtube talked about feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, touched out feeling like a failure, unworthy full of rage, but loves her kids so much, I think so many of us can relate to that feeling.

On a personal note, I have more days where I am regulated and I’m able to show up for my kids in a way that I’m really proud of….. there is hope!!!

I know that this may sound weird, but I find myself getting excited to help my daughter through a tantrum…… which is one of the ways I know I’m regulated. But, without further ado… let’s get into how you can start regulating yourself as a parent…… TODAY!

#1 Pause

Before you roll your eyes and scroll past this one, I encourage you to really pause. This has been a game changer for helping to to realize when I was actually dysregulated. Most of the time, I had no idea until I had already flipped my lid.

What does this pause look like? What if my kid is running out in the middle of the road?! Obviously safety is first priority, but things like a tantrum can wait. I like to think of this as any time I go into parent mode (when you need to punish or correct a behavior).

  1. Evaluate the situation.
  2. Evaluate yourself.
  3. Use Mel Robbin’s 5-4-3-2-1

We want to bring the prefrontal cortex online because this is our logical part of the brain. So we need to, get that going. (You can learn more about the prefrontal cortex here)

This simple step is preventing you from simply reacting (which won’t always go as planned in the beginning). There is a lot of strengthening that we need to do to this mental muscle, to help us begin choosing a calm approach.

#2 Five to Ten Seconds of Self-Care

Finding five to 10 seconds for yourself throughout the day feels totally obtainable. In these moments, you aren’t doing anything else except acknowledging that this time is for you.

So this could literally be I get a cup of coffee and I look at it. I’m noticing all the bubbles. I’m looking at the color… maybe there’s a little swirl in the top from the cream. Then I’m acknowledging everything that’s going on here with coffee.

Sometimes I even say to myself, this coffee is for me, this time is for me.

We all have five to ten seconds to ourselves. This means that it could even be going into the bathroom for five to 10 seconds. And just looking at ourselves in the mirror, it could mean that we literally sit down in a chair. And for five seconds, we just say this is for me. Acknowledging that moment is for you.

It there’s nothing big or fancy. It’s not like you’re spending hours on end for yourself. But you’re committing to that moment being for yourself.

Another moment of my day that has literally saved me is the sunset. It’s around this time that everyone is getting tired and hungry, and I start getting overwhelmed. But when I see that sunset happen, I like literally run to the window and I’m like, wow, the sun is beautiful. I’m gonna just take this minute for myself.

And the funny thing is that I have never had a situation come up where my kids have been crazy and loud and you know crying at my feet, they are like in awe of the sunset.

Side note, going to a window would always get them to stop crying. And I think that there was part of it that was just me acknowledging this time.

Be sure to take these micro-moments of 5-1o seconds multiple times throughout your day!

#3 Acknowledge What You are Feeling

Say it out loud, even to your children! It’s amazing how much this changes the situation. Your child is understanding what is going on and it will most likely diffuse the feeling asbwell.

Let me share an example with my 3 year old daughter. I found my daughter sucking sour cream out of one of those squeeze bottles.

After noticing what I was feeling I said, ” Oh my gosh, I’m feeling very disrespected and frustrated right now.” And I didn’t say anything else.

And she looked at me like, oh, boy, that’s not good.

Acknowledging to myself what was going on stopped me from having a big reaction. So I didn’t yell, I didn’t scream. I just said what I was feeling.

#4 Put Your Hand on Your Chest

This may feel really simple.. but this has been my go-to for a while. Sometimes I even knead at my chest, I’ll share a somatic exercise that has been incredibly helpful to let go of stored trauma.

For me this just reminds me that I’m here, I’m in my body. So you know, after that pause if I feel like I’m going to burst, I’ll just put my hand on my chest. Sometimes I pat it, othertimes I almost knead at it.

This is a great reminder that not matter what the situation it’s going to be okay. It’s not life or death, but it’s gonna be okay. So for me, that is a huge part of how I regulate myself.

#5 Do Daily Reflections

When I’m able to reflect on a situation, it helps me to notice what was going on for me, so I can catch it sooner next time.

A little personal story:

A while ago, my daughter had pooped in her room, and I didn’t handle it well. That night, I reflected with my husband and I went over everything that happened. Then we talked through how I would actually want to handle it.

Giving myself a play by play of how I would like to handle it helps me handle it better next time. I practice this daily, even on minor things! I believe this has been a huge helper in noticing when I start to bubble up sooner and sooner each time!

#6 Notice Your Thermometer

I’ve hinted towards this a few times, but I wanted to give it a little more detail.

The BIGGEST step is going to be noticing the dysregulation. The goal is to start noticing it sooner and sooner. start becoming aware of how dysregulated you are.

During your reflections, right down the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that you experienced. This way you can start to understand what is triggering you!

Examples of Dysregulated Parent vs Regulated

This is just a bonus, but I want to give you an example of being regulated, so you know what it looks like to be both dysregulated and regulated as a parent.

Let’s say my two-year-old is having a tantrum….. she’s losing her mind at this point.

Dysregulation Examples:

  • Yelling “Stop it!”
  • Spanking out of Anger
  • Rushing her Through the Tantrum
  • Telling her she’s fine and to “shake it off”
  • A heavy feeling like “again, really?!”
  • Tightness and anger building in my chest

Regulated Example:

“I hear that you are feeling really frustrated.

I really want to help you through this.

Oh, yeah, I can see you’re starting to cry more, because that’s really upsetting you!

I understand how that could make you feel frustrated, it would upset me too.

I can see that you need some reassurance. I see that you are scared, you’re scared that you may not get to see daddy tonight, because he might be late and you’re worried I get it.

I want to reassure you that you are loved that I love you and that Daddy loves you. And that even if daddy doesn’t come home, I’m going to be here, I’ll cuddle you.

Would you like to watch a baking show together?”

This is the mother I want to be. I want to be able to be fully present and able to hold space.

Final Thoughts….

If you are reading this article and you are curious about how to show up with peace and calm as a parent, head over to my Youtube Channel. That’s where you will see ALL of my parenting content.

If you are ready for Parent Coaching, you can fill out an application here.

I hope this article was able to help you in some way! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

-Alexis