Bouncing Back and Leaping Forward: Self-Regulation is Key
Life always brings challenge and change. It's even more true now.
In good times, and in tough times, kids need resilience. They also need to thrive. Self-regulation is key to resilience and thriving.
What do we mean by "self-regulation?" Drawing on up-to-date research in neuroscience and psychology, we describe self-regulation as "the ability to use my mind to monitor and modify my experiences." Or, in the everyday language of kids, self-regulation is the ability to "be the boss of me!" Growing their capacity to self-regulate, our kids are able to say: "I'm the boss of my body, my thoughts, my emotions, my energy, my behavior, my impulses, my focus & attention, my social interactions" ... and more.
The idea is simple: everyone needs self-reg assets. The more assets a young person has, the more chances that he or she will thrive ... even in difficult circumstances. With lots of self-reg assets in hand, young people are prepared to bounce back when the going gets rough, and to navigate life in developmental leaps and bounds.
Five Self-Reg Assets that Everyone Needs
Take 5! builds mastery in five interconnected areas of social and emotional competency:
- BE HERE: Mindful Awareness ... I can be fully present & aware of my own inner experiences ... my thoughts, feelings, attitudes & assumptions, for example ... and how they're connected to my body and my actions.
- BE WITH: Interpersonal Effectiveness ... I can be present with others, and see things from another person's perspective. I understand that what I do affects others, just as their actions affect me; this helps me to set healthy boundaries.
- BE CALM: Emotion Regulation ... I can pay attention to the signals my body is sending, and am learning to monitor and modify my responses. Using my self-reg skills, I'm less likely to be hijacked by sensory & emotional triggers.
- BE STRONG: Resilience & Thriving... I'm better able to tolerate distress and resist urges. I'm learning to bounce back from adversity, and to make wiser & healthier choices. I'm able to say that "Life went sideways. But I didn't. At least not for long."
- BE CHANGE: Connectedness & Contribution ... I'm becoming confident that, even in difficult circumstances, positive change is possible. I know that what I do matters, and that I can make a difference in the world.
Growing their self-reg skills, kids are better able to address problems as they arise, and maximize their own potential for a healthy and productive life. No matter what life brings - and it will certainly bring challenges - kids will know they can count on their capacity to BE HERE, BE WITH, BE CALM, BE STRONG, and BE CHANGE.
You can view the Take 5! framework and 25 building blocks here.
And you can check out the Take 5! Self-Assessment tool here.
Cultivating an Inner Compass
Self-regulation is all about developing a reliable and resilient inner compass. Take 5! supports children and youth to cultivate and strengthen essential inner capacities that include:
Take 5! for ACEs and Trauma
Take 5! was designed with trauma in mind. The same self-reg assets that promote learning and generate wellness can also buffer and prevent the effects of trauma.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are a common trauma trigger. And people who have experienced trauma often have self-regulation deficits.
With the Take 5! approach, the self-reg assets that foster thriving are exactly the same as the assets that buffer and prevent the effects of trauma.
Take 5! for Equity & Transformative SEL
A dynamic dialogue is emerging among educators and other professionals that support children and families: It’s time to renew our efforts to advance equity and social justice. And, as CASEL – www.casel.org – has recently affirmed, social and emotional learning (SEL) can act as a powerful lever for positive change.
At Take 5! our objective is to support young people, of all racial, ethnic & socio-economic backgrounds, to grow the assets they’ll need to navigate a complex world … a world that isn’t always inclusive or fair. When young people are supported to grow their capacity to self-regulate, they are better prepared to navigate the challenges that life will inevitably bring. And, with robust self-reg skills, they are better prepared to play a positive role in creating a healthier future, a more equitable future, a thriving future … for themselves, for their families, and for their fellow citizens.
With lots of self-reg assets to draw on – strengthening their ability to BE HERE, BE WITH, BE CALM, BE STRONG, and BE CHANGE – young people are themselves a potent lever for transformative change.
Read more ... Take 5! & Transformative SEL
An Inclusive Approach
Take 5! puts the asset-building focus on all kids, not just some kids ... growing the self-reg capacities that support thriving. In this way, Take 5! integrates trauma-responsive practice and equity-focused practice with everyday SEL and self-regulation capacity-building.
Among other benefits, this inclusive approach reduces the stigma of trauma and ACEs. And it helps empower all young people to be an agent of positive change. Most importantly, perhaps, Take 5! acknowledges that everyone needs support to grow their self-reg assets ... including the adults who support kids.
10 Key Questions & 10 Key Messages provides a good introduction to Take 5!
Take 5! ... So All Kids Can Thrive! goes a little deeper.
And you can learn more about the Take 5! approach here.