5 Helpful Self-Regulation Resources for Kids

I often receive referrals for children who find it challenging to know how to behave appropriately across different settings (home, school, community).  We often refer to this skill as self-regulation.

Arts and crafts

Self-regulation requires 3 foundational skills:

  • Sensory regulation: The ability to manage and respond appropriately to sensory input from their environment.
  • Emotional Regulation: The ability to recognise body clues associated with different emotional levels and understand how others think and feel in response to these.
  • Executive functioning: The ability to have cognitive control over our behaviour. Our executive function skills include our ability to sustain attention, plan, problem solving and use positive self-talk.  These skills are vital for building a positive foundation for the development of resilience skills.

5 tools to assist your child to develop their self-regulation skills:

1. Breathe Think Do With Sesame (Free App)

I have found this a helpful tool for assisting children to calm down and learn problem solving strategies to persist with challenging tasks.  In the app, children can assist a friendly monster to work through the following common challenges:

  • Putting on shoes
  • Separating from parents
  • Going to sleep
  • Waiting their turn
  • Dealing with failure

2. Wonder Grove Play (Free educational video clips) 

This is a fantastic resource for teaching children about everyday social norms for both the classroom and in the playground.  I have found that children love watching the short animations which can then lead to discussions about what to do in their own everyday situations.  Check out the website for all of the videos, however our favourites include:

  • Keep your hands to yourself
  • Know how to handle a bully
  • Respect others on the playground
  • Use polite words
  • Ask the teacher for help

3. Model Me Kids (Educational DVD Series) 

There is a whole series of different DVDs available, however the two that we regularly use are:

  • Time for a Playdate: this video series teaches children some of the social skills that are needed for successful playdates such as:
    • Saying hello and goodbye
    • Sharing & taking turns
    • Losing is OK
    • Talking on topic
    • Answering
    • Packing up
  • Time for School: this video series teaches children some of the social skills that are needed within the context of school such as:
    • Listening to the teacher
    • Keeping hands to myself
    • Saying sorry
    • Sitting quietly
    • Raising my hand

 4. Class Dojo Growth Mindset Series (Free educational video clips) 

These educational clips introduce children to the concept of neuroscience and brain plasticity in an entertaining way that they can understand.  The series follows a friendly monster who is having difficulty at school.  Children learn about the following concepts:

  • The brain is like a muscle
  • Mistakes are no big deal, they can actually help us to learn
  • It is OK to ask for help
  • Trying challenging things is the only way to grow our brain

5. The Allen Adventure (Free App) 

This app is an interactive book which follows a friendly alien as he has to learn about appropriate behaviours at school such as:

  • How to join in a game
  • Sharing
  • Reading the emotions of others
  • Knowing how to respond when others are mean
  • Calming down

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist

kate headshot

Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.


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