top of page

Co-regulation to self-regulation

Updated: May 7


This example was shared by two teaching assistants 'Nina' and 'Tamara' during one of Emotion Coaching UK's training courses. The Emotion Coaching approach was being consciously used in the setting in the weeks between Emotion Coaching UK training sessions.

"We have both dealt with the same KS1 child - 'Logan' - who very quickly escalates into screaming, stamping, and pushing, said Tamara.

Nina reinforced throughout the week that when Logan experiences intense emotions they go to a quiet place in the room and sit down. She showed Logan some breathing techniques to help him calm down, whilst also supporting him verbally.

When Logan was calm, Nina showed him the 'hand model' of the brain.

This happened every day following the first Emotion Coaching training session, then one day about two weeks later, Logan became distressed and shouted and stamped his feet...but then took himself to the quiet space.

He used the breathing techniques to calm himself independently.

Tamara then went and sat with Logan, and spoke about what had happened.

Logan was able to verbalise what was wrong."


By offering Logan a consistent, repetitive, and empathetic Emotion Coaching response - helping him to regulate his challenging emotions -co-regulating - Logan was able to develop his capacity for self-regulation and to recognise when he needed to do that for himself.

Explaining to Logan about what was happening - through the 'hand model' of the brain and breathing techniques - also empowered him to move towards self-regulation.

It was also very much in keeping with John Gottman's description of Emotion Coaching:

Emotion Coaching is helping children to understand the different emotions they experience, why they occur, and how to handle them. (John Gottman)

With two members of staff both actively and consistently engaging in how they were co-regulating with Logan (with the understanding that this would support his eventual ability to self-regulate), Logan was able to to have repeated experiences in 'putting his lid back on' and learn how to do this for himself.

This animation of the 'hand model' of the brain, adapted from Dr Daniel Siegel, can be viewed on the Emotion Coaching UK website:

or found on the Emotion Coaching UK You Tube Channel: @emotioncoachinguk6284

609 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page