When we regulate and understand our own emotions and reactions, we can better prepare ourselves for how we want to respond to our children’s emotions and reactions in the future with more empathy, understanding and connection.

Think of these moments as a welcome challenge or opportunity for everyone to learn and grow together. 


  • Accidents will happen.
  • Children WILL test boundaries. It’s how they learn.
  • Sometimes, we over-estimate what little ones are developmentally capable of understanding.
  • We’ll never have all the answers. Just be there and listen.
  • What might seem trivial to us might mean the world to our children.
  • Challenging behavior is a way to tell us something is wrong, like being tired, hungry, scared, over-stimulated or uncomfortable.

when a challenge arises, ask yourself:

  • Am I responding compassionately?
  • Do I feel safe to take responsibility or say ’sorry’ for my actions as a caregiver?
  • Do I feel good about the message I am communicating with my response?

what strategies help you?

It’s okay to take a few minutes to calm yourself down, so you can respond better. Try strategies like:

  • Closing your eyes or taking a few deep breaths.
  • Taking a few steps/going for a quick walk, if you can do so safely.
  • Going into another room for a minute or two.
  • Falling back on your support system, like another caregiver or partner.
  • Call on a supportive partner, co-parent, family member or friend.

concrete supports: