by Leanie Eksteen, Occupational Therapist
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”. - Maya Angelou
As a parent, my ultimate goal is to raise well adjusted, balanced, resilient adults who can negotiate the hurdles in this world and manage the challenges that life presents them with. That is a mouthful. When you break that goal down, it requires a lot of skills, sweat and tears, laughter, failure, good and bad times, heartaches, losses, successes, disillusionment, a variety of relationships, bruises, cuts and maybe even broken bones, disappointments, encouragement, and just about every other word known to describe our toil in this life.
In our current society, our focus tends to be, rather, to raise successful children. In the process we tend to prod, coddle, manage, stage, schedule, label our children. Whatever it takes to get them on the podium. Also hard work, but the outcome is slightly different. We may now end up with a very anxious, exhausted, dis-regulated child with a gold medal around their neck.
In this article I want to raise some awareness about how to instill the development of self-regulation in our children as a foundation to all the other skills and successes that we hope they will acquire. Successful students usually exhibit the following traits as outlined in Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Voh’s Handbook of Self-Regulation: Research, Theory, and Applications (2011). It describes Self Regulation as the ability to:
In essence, they need to be able to:
That is what I try to teach parents and children in my practice as an occupational therapist.I will now share some of the strategies that I commonly recommend.
Regulating activities (can be used for calming and arousing)
Watch this space for my next article on Heavy Work Activities