May Mayhem

The Blossoming of Spring

The lure of spring is hard to resist with warmer days and new blooms exploding. It seems that everything needs to get scheduled now that the snow has melted and we have more outdoor activity. School calendars swell this time of year with trips, plays, sports, it quickly becomes hard to keep up with it all despite the ongoing invitation to join and do more.  And why not, the weather is great, we want to loosen up on bedtimes and routines as we anticipate summer’s approach. All of this opportunity is wonderful and our energy needs to be managed with mindful choices along with all of the spontaneity. Because the stimulation is positive we forget that it can be overstimulating for kids and parents leading to dysregulated behaviors at home. When we are stressed, even with good stress like an active schedule, our self-regulating and executive function capacities get worn down. Sleep is the primary way to restore and nurture these capacities and build resilience as well.

Calm Limits Support Regulation

We can become overwhelmed with choices and lose our sense of limits and what’s really best for ourselves and our families when we add activity to an already busy week.  Kids need us to co-regulate for them especially at this time. We know it’s the less popular option, but when we can peacefully hold firm on, “not tonight” and transition without great difficulty, we feel successful. In order for us to hold the limit in a way that is positive and not a punitive part of our attachment with our kids, we rely upon self regulation or vagus breath, so you have the presence and executive function capacity that is needed.  When we are calm and clear, we are able to quickly think through the options, that means: we practice impulse control, emotional control, flexible thinking, working memory, self-monitoring, planning and prioritizing, task initiation and organization –  the eight key executive function skills.

Co-Regulation Supports Executive Function

When we are dysregulated, “amped up” or “amped down” from daily stimulation, positive or negative, our key executive functions skills grow increasingly worn down and we are less able to easily access them. Our kids are eager to avoid routine and seek the freedom of a late night playing sports and all is well until the basic demands of returning home rely on their fatigued body and brain.  They may lose their calm voice and verbal capacities first, or other younger behaviors arise and then you know that getting to bed is not likely to go well. “They’ve got nothing left” is what they communicate with these behaviors and if we can receive and interpret them and respond with co-regulation, it may go better than you thought. Families need a trusted voice to help them find their co-regulation stance, so their kids can grow and meet developmental goals.

Our senses are peaked with the attention to spring around us and all the new activity. When we are reminded to attune to the inside senses as well, so we can stay grounded in a position to co-regulate, our families will experience the benefits. If you would support finding your co-regulation stance and clean the clutter of old family habits, reach out to talk more about brief family consultation sessions with Betsy @