During the holidays, I had the opportunity to observe self-regulation beyond the classroom.
I traveled to Cuba and upon arriving at the airport, there was quite a long line waiting to clear immigration. In front of me was a family of two parents and three children. One child, about 7, was poking his siblings and name calling, clearly bothering them. After the sibling asked the other child to stop, the parent stepped in, asking them to stop. When this was not effective, the parent threatened that the child would have time-out when they arrived at their hotel. This also did not stop the child’s behaviour and it continued the entire time we waited in line.
My learning through this self-regulation project had me looking at this situation through a different lens. It was an early morning flight and the child likely did not get enough sleep. Then, they spent 4 hours sitting, had a different eating schedule and were still dressed for Canadian weather while in a tropical country. We were entering a strange country which would have created uncertainty as well as the excitement of new experiences.
While there was nothing that could be done about the line however, there were things that could have been done to lessen the child’s stress. Examples include, a change of clothing or snack, engaging the child in a discussion “I can’t wait to get to the hotel! Should we eat first or go swimming?” Another option would be to give the child a task, “Can you count how many people are in front of us?”
My learning on self-regulation provided many other options to react aside from a time-out that may have achieved better results.