Select Page

I hear a child shriek outside my front window and run outside, Siena right behind me. A little boy has fallen off his bike. His sister is helping him get up and he’s wailing. He’s seven she is maybe 11. I’ve never seen them before. I see that he’s got bleeding scrapes on his hand, knee and elbow but nothing serious. But he’s so upset. I ask him if he wants me to get a cold cloth. He slowly nods his head and I go to get a washcloth and some ice while Siena and his sister gradually bring him to my front step. After two or three minutes he stops crying. Siena gets him a baggie full of ice and a toy and I just stay with him. After about ten minutes the boy and his sister leave. I ask Siena if she saw what I was trying to do. She looks at me and says, “Yeah mom, you were trying to turn off his amygdala.”

I smile. My daughter is learning Self-Reg.

Self-Reg Triune Brain

1. During this little “crisis”, Siena was very calm and supportive, trying to help in any way she could. As Stuart Shanker says, “Calm begets calm”. Limbic resonance. The little boy was surrounded by calm and caring not just from the adult but from Siena and his sister too. The key here was that knowing when he was ready to go back on his bike for home was not something I decided. He showed us when he was ready. It was a matter of reading the signs and recognizing when his “blue brain*” was back online.
2. Siena got that I was trying to soothe the boy’s limbic system so it would turn off the limbic alarm.It wasn’t just her use of a word like “amygdala” (which, by the way, she used to pronounce as a “digda” when she was younger). It’s that she clearly understood exactly what I was doing. Falling off the bike had sent his brain and body into a fight or flight stress response (directed by the limbic system). She understood that (after establishing that the boy wasn’t seriously injured) our first priority was to calm that response.

Hierarchy of stress

3. Siena got that I was “doing Self-Reg.” She recognized my behaviour, not just as something I talked to her about fairly regularly, but as something that we lived every day in various ways. Does that mean she could explain Shanker Self-Reg? No, probably not. But the true sign of “getting it” is when you move past the head knowledge and begin practicing Self-Reg.

I know there is no recipe or program for teaching my daughter Self-Reg. It’s lots of little moments: lots of big hugs when she needed those, lots of letting her know the cool Self-Reg moments I noticed in her. I am far from perfect in the Self-Reg arena of my own everyday life, but I am learning. And what a thrill to see my daughter is too.

*The “blue brain” is a metaphor for the neocortex, the newest part of our brain, as expressed in neuroscientist Paul MacLean’s Triune Brain theory.

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



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

*NEW* Gray Brain Science

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


Webinars & Upcoming Events

School Leadership Certificate

Learning Facilitator's Certificate

Living, Learning & Linking Certificate

Self-Reg Schools Handbook


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

A fist in fromt of a brain all coloured blue, rad and gray in line with the Triune Brain

Reframing Stress Behaviour with Gray Brain Science

Certificate Program Starts August 1st

Facilitated Certificates

Self-Directed Courses

On-Demand Webinars

Events - Live & Online

Tools & Strategies

Speakers & Presentations

Books & Publications

Blogs & Vlogs


Graphics with Blogs



Translated Resources

Media Releases

Meet Our Team


Contact Us