Self Regulation in Children

How to help your child deal with stress and emotions

Self-regulation is the ability to cope with daily ups and downs, big or small, good or bad. This skill is more complex than getting in control of our negative emotions (self-control). Self-regulation is about identifying, reducing and dealing with stressors. Your child will become skilled at self-regulation with your support, time and experiences.

How you can reduce your child's stress and help them learn self-regulation:

  • Help your child to decrease their stress. Help them get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, be physically active and have less screen time.  
  • Assist your child to learn what it means to feel calm and focused. Children between 4 and 9 years old may find Mindmasters 2 helpful. 
  • Help your child to understand the difference between their own needs and the needs of others.
  • Support your child to find activities or hobbies they enjoy.  Sports, playing musical instruments, martial arts or yoga can help children to learn self-regulation. 
  • Be a role model. Show your child how you stay calm and alert when you deal with difficult events.

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit
  • Connect with a Public Health Nurse and other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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