Life is new to our little ones. Think about a new job. How well would you have done if you had been thrown into it with no training? So why do we expect our little ones to handle big emotions without any training? Here we’ll talk briefly about how you can take the traditional time out and time in methods and turn them into emotion regulation training.
What is time out? Traditionally, Time Outs are when a child is sent to be alone (in a room, a chair, a corner, etc) in response to a negative action.
While time outs may be a well-intended teaching attempt, they are ultimately banishment for the child and a missed opportunity for adults. Time outs segregate parents from their own emotions while leaving children to deal with new feelings all alone.
What is a time in? Time ins are similar to a timeout, except that a child remains close to a caregiver and is encouraged to express their feelings. The caregiver in turn is encouraged to empathize.
The difficulty that many find in Time ins is that children may not be capable of expressing their emotions completely and a parent may not have the patience to listen.
My Mindful Mat takes Time Ins and combines it with scientific research to create a meaningful moment with your child. Instead of jumping right into talking about feelings and emotions, My Mindful Mat creates a moment of shared mindfulness. This helps both caregiver and child make the transition from reactionary to intentional thinking.
My Mindful Mat is ultimately an emotional regulation training tool. As both child and caregiver use it together, they will:
- Get out the physical book and mat that assists with the process.
- Work together to do mindfulness activities that help them make the jump from system 1 to system 2 thinking. (Learn more about this from our presentation slides).
- Be ready to discuss the situation at hand and come up with solutions.
Overall, mindful moments are a team effort for caregiver and child to understand, accept, and utilize their emotions in productive and meaningful ways.
Have you tried any of these methods? What has your experience been? Share your thoughts in the comments.