Teacher shares 5 simple phrases that instantly help regulate kids (and their caregivers)

teacher and kids in classroom share phrases regulate kids

Parenting is one of those things we learn as we go, and we’re always learning, no matter how old our kids are or how many of them we have. Unfortunately, with learning comes mistakes, and for a lot of us that comes in the form of blowing up at our children when we feel triggered by their actions.

It’s an absolutely gut-wrenching feeling to see the sadness (or sometimes even fear) in your kid’s eyes after you’ve snapped, and that guilt after mom rage is real, but we’ve all been there, and the best thing to do directly after an episode like that is to own up to your mistake, repair and apologize. Then, find some tools for your toolbox to help yourself feel more regulated and in turn, teach your child how to regulate their own emotions.

An important thing to remember in times like these is that children respond to the language we use with them. They also yearn for connection. Instagrammer/teacher Jen Foster (@goodmorningmsfosterltd) recently went viral when she shared her thoughts around “Five things all children want to hear and will always de-escalate the situation,” and they couldn’t be simpler phrases:

  1. “I’m listening”

  2. “You’re not in trouble”

  3. “Let’s figure this out”

  4. “You’re not alone”

  5. “I really care about you”

“When all else fails, these one sentence scripts will bring you (both) back to connection,” Foster wrote in the caption. “When I feel myself becoming triggered these scripts are always my go-to to diffuse the tension! Because it’s only when we tap into connection, that we can get to the root of the behaviour. A power struggle certainly won’t get us there!”

Sometimes the simplest reframe in our delivery can make the largest impact on our child. This goes for consequences, too. When our kid is doing something they shouldn’t, many of us automatically go into threat mode; however, flipping that threat into a positive consequence can work wonders for getting through to your kid while getting the same point across. This can look like swapping the phrase, “If you don’t keep your hands to yourself then we’re leaving!” to “If you can keep your hands to yourself then we can stay and play.” In the end, it means the same thing, but young brains prefer to hear what they can do instead of what they can’t do.