Children can find it hard to express thoughts and feelings because their brains are not fully developed, in fact, brains don't stop developing until our mid-20s!
When they are having big feelings, children struggle even further because the brain goes into a 'fight or flight' mode and nerves in our bodies can stop us hearing and speaking. This helps answer the question when you ask, "why did you do that?" your child will have no idea!
We use a number of tools to help children, including something called Zones of Regulation. There are four zones:
- blue - underwhelmed or understimulated
- green - stimlulated and ready to go
- yellow - over stimulated
- red - overwhelmed
Has your child had a 'melt-down'?
Leave at least half an hour to talk. This will allow adrenaline to be absorbed into the body and for your child to de-stress.
Encourage your child to 'check in' and try and explain what colour zone they were in, then try to identify the feeling. You can then explore what put them in that zone and what might help them get back to the green zone (ready and good to go).
Spotting the signs - preventing a melt-down
Working through the Zones is a very useful process and help us adults understand what triggers cause our children to have big feelings. If you can help your child to explain how their body feels, you can look out for future signs.
The yellow zone (over stimulated) is particularly useful because if you can help you prevent your child going into the red zone (over whelmed).