Teach Your Kids to HALT!

emotional regulation self-awareness Jun 29, 2022

Self-awareness and regulation can start at an early age. The sooner we get comfortable talking about how it is that we think and feel, the better off we will be able to take care of our mental and physical well being. This is where you come in, parents, as your children need you to help navigate these murky waters. 

A very simple way to start talking to your children about how they feel is by using the HALT system. Teach your child this acronym and ask them to answer these questions for themselves: 

 

H - AM I HUNGRY? 

  • Check in with your stomach - is there a gnawing feeling there? 

A - AM I ANGRY? 

  • Check in with your arms, legs, chest & jaw - is anything tightened up or rigid?

L - AM I LONELY?

  • Check in with your heart - are you missing quality time with someone in particular? 

T - AM I TIRED?

  • Check in with your brain - is it too exhausted to function in its optimal state?

Identification is the first step and it's very simple to do, once you know how it works. 

Think of a pasta dinner - everything is consumed together: meatballs, spaghetti, sauce, cheese, salt and pepper. An emotional outburst is like a pasta dinner. In our peak emotional state, everything exists together: “I hate everything” “Everything is horrible” “I am so sick of it all” or when words fail us “ARRRGGHHH!!!"

What are the components of our pasta dinner? Deconstruct the balls of emotions and, like the noodles, separate them into their respective strands.

Self-regulation only comes after self-awareness. 

Too often, we say we’re “overwhelmed” or “anxious” and these are the labels we place on our child. Once we figure out our triggers and identify them clearly, we give it far less power. 

 

So take the time and HALT to find out what’s going on inside. 

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