Empathy and Project Heart: #5 Self-Regulation

July 28, 2020


Welcome to the fifth of 10 blogs in our series all about the “9 Essential Habits that Give Kids the Empathy Advantage” and Dr. Michele Borba’s book Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

What is Self-Regulation? If you’ve made it this far, you’ve learned about the first four habits that are part of developing empathy. Congratulations, but now comes the hard work of practicing empathy! Self-regulation is the first of three habits in our lifelong practice, it’s the one about keeping your cool and managing strong emotions.

You know that feeling when you have a choice to make as you watch a toddler begin to boil over and head toward a meltdown. How we react to kids as their trusted adults is vital in how they learn the tools to self-regulate. If you teach or live with a child who needs more help than you think you can give, we highly recommend reading Chapter 5 of Unselfie, especially the age-by-age strategies. If you want to understand more about how and why emotions affect learning, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) published a great article on the topic HERE.

There are myriad opportunities to practice self-regulation while learning philanthropy and working toward and an impact project. For example, working on the ‘30 Days of Philanthropy’ calendar can provide opportunities for parents and kids to experience those tough emotions and practice the self-regulation strategies kids are working on. You can find that challenge and more on the Resources page of Project Heart.

Self-regulation is arguably one of the hardest habits to teach, especially when you’re teaching children who’ve experienced trauma. Kids can’t learn emotional literacy (Habit 1) if they can’t self-regulate. If you want to go a little deeper, we like this “Future-Proof Mindsets” tip sheet HERE, especially the first part about cognitive reappraisal. If you want to dig really deep into self-regulation, this article HERE offers over 95 skills and strategies. There are some programs for schools and we recommend starting with Asset Education.

What is one new self-regulation strategy you will commit to making a habit in your home or classroom? Share on social media using #myprojectheart!