Select Page

Advice for parents is seldom in short supply. But this September, as kids return to school amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve noticed an uptick in parenting advice, and mental health advice in general. In 10 minutes on social media this morning I saw posts about:

• how parents can talk to their children about COVID-related anxieties 

• the mental health benefits of practicing gratitude

• how important it is for teachers to practice self-compassion

• the importance of “lending our calm” when working with anxious or upset kids

All good stuff: sound advice that is rooted both in science and clinical wisdom.

But here’s the thing. We’re not going to be able to do any of these practices very well when we’re overstressed.  Feeling and expressing gratitude isn’t easy when your stress response system is working overtime. Having a calm, anxiety-reducing parent-child chat is going to be very challenging, if not impossible, if your stress alarm is stuck on the hair trigger setting. One advice-giver observed that it always feels better to talk about what you’re worried about. Well, ideally yes. But maybe not if both participants in the convo are abuzz with excess stress.

So here’s yet another place where the unique value of Self-Reg comes in. If we have learned to be aware of when we’re overstressed and what to do about it (how to get ourselves back into a balanced state), then we’re going to be best able to do the things that wise people advise us to do.

The phrase “think stress first” keeps coming into my head (I used it in a previous blog). I don’t mean that we need to obsess about stress every waking minute.  It’s more about Practice 4 of Self-Reg: Reflect, develop stress awareness.

If you need to talk to your child about their anxieties, or reflect on what makes you grateful, or if you need to support someone in ways that require self-control, it’s helpful to be aware of where your own stress level is at. Then you can ask, “Am I in the best state to do what I need to do?”  If not, you can often do something about your stress level before you jump into your task.

Obviously, we won’t always have the time to meditate, do yoga, go for a run, or whatever, before dealing with an upset or highly anxious child. Some situations call for quick action. But developing stress awareness will definitely help us be more successful, more often, in many endeavours. That includes making good use of the practices that are beneficial in parenting or for our overall mental health and well-being.

Self-Reg Seeds Learning Journey Symbol of a seed sprouting 2 leafs

What is Self-Reg?

Self-Reg is a pathway to calm, resilience, motivation, learning, & well-being.

Early Years

Parents

Schools

The Shanker Method

5 Domain Framework

Free Self-Reg 101 Webinar

Our Mission & Values

About Stuart Shanker

Self-Reg Sunrise Learning Journey symbol of a sunrise over a leaf

Explore how learning Shanker Self-Reg can help your approach to behaviour, dysregulation, emotions and any of the challenges that brought you to Self-Reg as a someone who cares.

Level 1 Certificate Programs

*NEW* Education Assistants

Early Childhood Development

Self-Reg Foundations

School Leadership

ASK Courses

Reframing Bullying

Enhancing Resilience

Self-Reg Parenting

Learning for Teams

On-Demand Webinars

Upcoming Events

Summer Symposium

Book a Presenter

Self-Reg Quilt Learning Journey Symbol of a leaf in a patch of a quilt

Self-Reg can be practical, community based and woven with other initiatives, movements or priorities. How can you bring Self-Reg to your community or context?

What is Applied Self-Reg Knowledge?

Blogs & Vlogs

Podcasts

Webinars & Upcoming Events

School Leadership Certificate

Learning Facilitator's Certificate

Living, Learning & Linking Certificate

Self-Reg Schools Handbook

REFRAMED Book

Mentoring & Consulting

Self-Reg Haven Learning Journey Symbol of two hands holding and nurturing a leaf up

Havens are our dream for all! A Self-Reg Haven is a place where everyone feels safe in every way: physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally.

I Know a Haven When I Find One

5 Self-Reg Haven Look Fors

Havens 101: Group Learning

RADAR Project Planning Tool

Self-Reg Schools Handbook

Enhancing Resilience in Children and Youth Certificate Program Image of a person's silhouette in front of an orange sunset

Enhancing Resilience In Children & Youth

Certificate Program Starts June 20th

Facilitated Certificates

Self-Directed Courses

On-Demand Webinars

Events - Live & Online

Tools & Strategies

Speakers & Presentations

Books & Publications

Blogs & Vlogs

Podcasts

Graphics with Blogs

Glossary

Français

Translated Resources

Media Releases

Meet Our Team

Newsletter

Contact Us

FAQs