Hey guys! Happy podcast day, welcome to this week’s episode of Voices of Your Village. Today I had the immense pleasure of sitting down with Emily Lesher. Emily is a speech language pathologist in her tenth year, working closely with occupational therapists and focusing on how kiddos use language within play. She has been looking a lot at regulation, which is a term used so often in our world that tends to be misunderstood. What we mean when we say “regulation” is less about being calm all day every day, but instead being able to emotionally react appropriately to our circumstances. Regulation is all about matching the environment we are in. Emily has been researching regulation recently and has been focusing on how language and play come together. She has noticed a developmental pattern where language directly affects how kiddos play with one another, and that you can identify a child’s state of regulation based on how they play.
Any time that you add other kids into the mix, regulation within play can be really hard. First we look at if the child has the skill or the language to achieve regulation in play, then we have to figure out: if the child doesn’t have the skill, we focus on teaching that skill.
What I don’t want for a parent is to hear this right now and think: oh shoot, am I missing something? Is my kiddo really dis-regulated? Before we decide if they are or are just an otherwise calm kid we need to look at a few things. Such as: are there skills that we should be working on and building that our kiddo might now have, like language in play.
So, let’s break this down. What is our mode of approach when our kiddo is super creative and wild at home, but as soon as it is time for them to play in a group they are really reserved and unable to navigate their environment. Emily says that play is developed really early on, but it’s a system that is not necessarily easily defined in kids because every play environment is different and therefore play can require being taught more than once.
When we look at any transition that changes our kiddos routines, from a regulation standpoint time is of the essence. We just need more support in this time period, and it’s not going to be forever.
We use routines for kids that are predictable so that they don’t have to think about it more than necessary. But when a new change happens and routine gets shaken up, our kiddos have to make more decisions than usual and that extra thinking can be taxing to their systems. Something as simple to us as taking dad’s car to the grocery store instead of mom’s can be completely dis-regulating to our tiny humans if their expectations aren’t appropriately set beforehand.
One of the biggest things we can do for kiddos is to give them visual aide support and pre-teaching. When a kiddo is dis-regulated the first thing they do is “question asking,” which can come in many forms: crying, refusing to get into their car seat, etc. When your tiny human asks questions this way in the face of a change in routine what they are really doing is asking, “what’s going on here?”
Alright, guys, I feel like Emily and I crushed this week’s podcast topic of, “Use your words.” For more things all things Emily you can meet her at this Spring’s Mama’s Getaway Weekend (there are a few tickets left, time to snag them!) or in our Seed and Sew Facebook group. Thanks for listening, ya’ll, I’ll see you here next week.