Emotional Self-Regulation

When should I choose this area of focus for my Gabadoo?

Self-regulation refers to your child's ability to manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviour so they can complete tasks, adapt their behaviour in response to the demands of a situation and solve problems. Co-regulation (defined as warm and responsive interactions) with a caregiver/parent supports a child's ability to self-regulate. Self-regulation can be influenced by a child's temperament, sensory processing or the environment.

As self-regulation encompasses lots of different areas, this area of focus specifically focuses on 'Emotional Self-Regulation' which relates to your child's ability to express and manage their emotions in everyday life. 

Maybe your child needs support around expressing their emotions, finding ways to relax and feel calm, to cope with changes to expectations or/and to handle frustration. 

By highlighting lots of observations as listed below in your Gabadoo, our team will be able to guide you around supporting both co-regulation and your child's self-regulation. 

Reading this blog is vital to help you understand if another 'Area of Focus' for your Gabadoo may be more appropriate. 


Gabadoo is not suitable to support your family if you are looking for support around self-harming behaviours, eating disorders, suicidal feelings or thoughts, sexual abuse, physical abuse, advice on medication or management of medication. We advise that you link with your service provider or contact your family doctor/G.P immediately to raise your concerns and seek support for these areas. 

If you feel your child is finding it challenging to manage their emotions due to external or internal sensory input, there is a separate 'Area of Focus' for sensory processing which you can read about here. E.g. If your child becomes distressed in certain environments but appears calm at home or if you feel your child's emotional distress stems from a sensitivity to certain sensory input. 

If your child becomes frustrated and upset as a result of difficulty with communicating their needs or wants, expressive language might be a more appropriate choice for your 'Area of Focus' so that you can support their communication skills and reduce their overall frustration. 

If your child is becoming frustrated, avoidant or upset during specific tasks, really think about what these tasks might be. If you notice that it is always when your child is doing handwriting, dressing, feeding, during bed-times or learning a new gross motor skill, one of these 'Areas of Focus' might be more appropriate to select as this behaviour may be communicating a skill difficulty. 

What information do I need to include in my Gabadoo?

As our Gabadoo Team have never met your family before and know nothing about your child, they can only provide strategies based on the information you provide so be very detailed!

After you have filled in the relevant information in your Gabadoo, go through this checklist to make sure you have included the following:

Family & Home Life:

Description of your family & the structure of your family including siblings, pets or any extended family who are living in your home.

The space available within your house and outside spaces including a garden, farm or playgrounds. 

Your daily routine including school hours, drop offs, child-care and free time in the evening and at the weekends so our team provide activities that are achievable for your routine. 

Strengths and Interests:

What does your child like to do?

What games, toys, T.V. programs, characters do they like?

What type of activities do they seek out?

What are some of their sensory preferences (e.g. swinging, tickling, climbing, cuddling, music, singing)?

Do they respond to praise from adults? 

Additional Information:

What class is your child in at school?

What type of schooling do they receive? i.e. homeschooling, mainstream N.S., gaelscoil, preschool, ASD class, Special School. 

Have you seen any professionals in the past in relation to their development or self-regulation? If so, what was the outcome?

What have you tried before in relation to supporting your child's ability to self-regulate?  

What does your child use as their method of communication? e.g. gestures, words, PECs, Lamh.

Make sure to include:

What you have seen at home and how is this impacting on your child or your family? Be very descriptive and provide a situation if needed e.g. when my child has to...

Include where your child displays these emotions most frequently e.g. at family events, at home, in school and with whom? Is there a difference in your child's behaviour at school and at home?

What have you used at home? Include books, toys etc. so we aren't recommending things you have already tried. 

Very Important to Include: What would you like to gain from this Gabadoo? E.g. I would like to get strategies to support...

    Remember: The more information you give our team, the more individualised and relevant your plan will be.

    What support will I receive for my child?

    Your information will be reviewed by one of our Gabadoo Experts who is experienced in supporting families with emotional self-regulation. They will detail individualised strategies, activities, next steps and helpful organisations and products that you can use at home to support your child. 

    So, I'm ready to do my Gabadoo, what's my 'Area of Focus'

    Emotional Self-Regulation - Click Here to Get Started

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