Emotional Delays: Surprising Secret to regulate a child’s Emotional Behavior
This article introduces ways to help a child with emotional delays. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
Each child is unique and different, just like their learning development. However, one of the biggest worries parents continue to talk about is their child’s emotional development. Sure, when a child is two or three we often understand tantrums, meltdowns and emotional outbursts. But what about an older child or a child who can’t self-regulate?
Some children may struggle with a diagnosis like ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorders. While others are just mainstream kids who still can’t get control over their emotions. If a child can’t establish emotional control, they certainly can’t learn to read, write or follow directions in the classroom.
We need to find the breakdown and what we can do to close the gaps in behavior and emotional development. If there are any emotional delays in a child’s development, it may cause even bigger problems at home and in the classroom.
Emotional delays when there is a disconnection in the brain
If a child is really experiencing emotional delays in their development, we need to find the root of the problem. Typically, when there is a disconnection in the brain, the child can’t learn. We must build neural connections within the brain to get the right side and left side working together for emotional stability, emotional control and emotional regulation. So how do we accomplish this?
When children are young, they mostly live on the right side of their brain. The right side of the brain is our creative side and also our emotional side. This is why kids love activities that involve their imagination. Activities like painting, Play Doh, coloring, building with blocks and role playing are all connected to the right side of the brain.
As your child grows, they should begin transitioning from right brain thinking to left brain or more logical thinking. This is when a child can begin learning to read, write, spell, do math problems and learn new vocabulary words.
If a child has a difficult time making this transition or has emotional delays, the brain does not become “hardwired” for higher learning. Children often get stuck; on the right side of their brain. When this happens, children that stay on the right side of their brain tend to have difficulty with emotional grounding, attention and focus, sitting still in class, listening to the teacher and following directions.
If this happens, we must “rewire” the brain for better learning development.
When the brain isn’t fully developed, emotional delays happen
Jeanette Farmer, certified handwriting remediation specialist, used her findings to show how emotional delays can happen when the brain isn’t fully developed. She said, “When the right brain dominant child is thrown into a left-brain system and expected to perform using processing skills not yet in place, stress and anxiety sets the child up for failure in trying to meet expectations.”
Research supports Farmer’s findings as approximately 40 percent of young children are not prepared intellectually, socially or emotionally to enter school.
Handwriting secret to improve emotional delays
You may be surprised to learn that one of the secrets to improving emotional delays in children is handwriting exercises. A common misconception is that handwriting activities are only for fine motor development. However, these types of exercises are also linked to helping children who are often impulsive, lack attention and focus, display disruptive behavior and experience stress or anxiety.
Children with these emotional issues have not yet bridged the gap between their right and left brain. This creates strong emotions and behavior issues that are often manifested in school and at home. Many times children are so focused on controlling their emotions, they can’t free up their brain for higher learning concepts.
Through Farmer’s research, she discovered both music and movement using handwriting strokes can rewire the brain.
To rewire the brain, a combination of handwriting exercises and music may help emotional delays, behavior issues and emotional regulation. Both support the learning development process.
Handwriting exercises can shift the dominance of the child’s emotional state in the right brain to a more stabilized environment in the left brain, creating controlled emotions and logical thinking.
Too often do I hear parents say, “My child’s emotions are running the whole household.” If this is your child, handwriting exercises may help shift the emotional balance to more logical thinking.
Farmer said, “Research indicates that handwriting taps the emotions. Likewise, rhythmic movement generates a sense of well being.”
What handwriting exercises help emotional delays?
Many parents and teachers have asked how they can better help their children and students rewire the brain at home and at school. The Rewiring the Brain Handbook Part I – Beginner Level can help your child “rewire” the brain for higher learning. Each activity was created with a specific purpose in mind. It not only engages both the right and left sides of the brain, it also helps your child develop letter formation, directionality, visual-spacing, organization, fine motor and reading growth.
The e-Handbook provides parents, teachers, Occupational Therapists, Pediatric Therapists, and educators with several fun, playful learning activities to ignite learning. It includes some of the following:
- Instruction to Rewiring the Brain
- How handwriting exercises benefit your child’s learning development
- Line exercises for letter development and recognition
- Mazes, dot to dots, tracing, coloring, hole punch activities and more
- Curves, boxes and shapes
The Rewiring the Brain Handbook Part I contains 63 pages of fun activities that can easily be printed from your home computer. All activities require adult supervision in the beginning and can be used in conjunction with music therapy and gross motor development. To get your copy, click here.
If your child is more advanced and needs an intermediate level, click here for the Rewiring the Brain Handbook Part II – Intermediate Level.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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