Dr. Stuart Shanker, researcher, professor, and author of the book Self-Reg, is an expert on helping children develop their self-regulation skills.
He understands that emotions can be very overwhelming when you’re a child (even as an adult!) but children don’t have the life experience to recognize their emotions, understand them, and then self-regulate. Dr. Shanker calls on parents to "be a stress detective" to find out what might be causing their child's behaviour changes.
He's described 5 domains of self-regulation and the stressors that could be effecting them:
Biological Domain: Stressors can affect our physiological system and take us out of optimal function. This can include noises, crowds, too much visual stimulation, or not enough exercise. See example chart below.
Emotion Domain: Stressors in this domain include strong emotions, both positive (overexcited) or negative (anxiety, anger), and often interact with and multiply stressors in other domains. See example chart below.
Cognitive Domain: Cognitive stress is caused by difficulty processing certain kinds of information - boredom, making decisions, being put on the spot, etc. See example chart below.
Social Domain: Social stressors relate to a child's difficulty picking up on social cues, and understanding the effects of their own behaviour on others. See example chart below.
Prosocial Domain: Signs of prosocial stress, such as difficulties sharing, telling the truth, or understanding right and wrong, are often tied to a child's difficulty coping with other people's stress. See example chart below.