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Emotion Coaching is a useful tool to use to support your child’s emotional wellbeing during COVID-19

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

COVID-19 presents us all with a strange and different world. This can give rise to strong emotions in both adults and children. To promote our mental health and wellbeing we need to manage often challenging emotions and behaviours. Emotion Coaching can help us to support our children’s experience of stress.

EMOTION COACHING • A way in which parents and carers can help children to understand the different emotions they experience, why they occur and how to handle them. THE NEED FOR EMOTION COACHING • Challenging behaviour is often the result of a child or young person struggling to regulate their emotions and becoming overwhelmed • All emotions are natural and have evolved to help us to adapt our behaviour to support survival • As part of our survival mechanism, we have two evolved systems that help regulate stressful experiences:

- The Stress Response System (fight-flight-freeze). This automatically mobilises the body’s

energy supplies so we can quickly physically respond - The Social Engagement System. This uses positive social interactions communication, thinking and rational skills to respond and survive. Our social engagement system develops throughout childhood and as a result of experiences and relationships. • The Stress Response System developed so when we felt our survival was threatened, we could protect ourselves through automatic physical responses. These include approaching and fighting, running away (flight) or in extreme survival threat situations, stopping all movement (freeze). • Our Social Engagement System develops through positive social interactions with others. However, it can only be used if we feel safe in our environment and in our relationship with others. • Mental health and wellbeing results from effective use of the social engagement system and the stress response system. It takes time and experience to learn how to manage and balance our social engagement system and our stress response system • Emotion Coaching supports the development of the social engagement system HOW TO EMOTION COACH 1. Recognise the child’s feelings and empathise with them 2. Validate and label the emotion the child is feeling in the moment 3. Set limits (if necessary) 4. Problem Solve

Read more about Emotion Coaching

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