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What is co-regulation and what does it mean?



Maybe you have heard about co-regulation, but you are not quite sure what exactly it means. Today we are going to dive a little deeper into co-regulation.


Co-regulation is not just the strategies that you use to calm a child during or after a meltdown, but it also includes all of the strategies you use to build regulation skills. This includes planning and preparation for outings, events, or even daily life. It also includes connection, routines, structure, behavior modeling and so much more.


Prepare: think of this as everything you do each day to connect with your child, build structure, routine, support, and more. It includes the environment at school and at home-making sure it is sensory friendly for growing brains and bodies. It also includes your awareness (and helping to build the child’s awareness) of things that increase agitation as well as things that are calming and utilizing these strategies. You want to see if there is a storm brewing, and consider what things you may want to have on hand if it happens.


Rescue: For this phase, think of this as using the rescue strategies that help support your child when they are overwhelmed, emotionally flooded, or overstimulated. Practice these strategies when your child is calm, so that when they are upset you can be a place of calm with familiar strategies. The rescue phase is similar to an umbrella in a storm. It may offer a break from the wind and the rain, but it does not necessarily stop the storm.


Safety: The goal of the rescue strategies is to get your child (and yourself) back to a safe emotional and physical space. This can happen by having a safe space for your child to go to when they are overwhelmed such as a regulation station or quiet place. Once the child is calm and feels safe, you can go over the events before the meltdown to consider what was happening in the environment or within the child that contributed to the dysregulation. The more often you can help a dysregulated child get back to a safe emotional space, the more they will be able to learn how to do it on their own. For more information check out the free regulation webinar link in my instagram bio.

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