Finding calm after the pandemic through Self-Reg

In late 2016, a group of us traveled to the People for Education annual conference in Toronto for parents, guardians and educators.

We were blown away by the keynote speaker who talked about the stress of living in an era where youth know “how to keep going,” but generations had lost the sense of how to be calm.  That speaker was Stuart Shanker, the author of  Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life (2016).

Six years later, Erin Mills Connects met with area educators and other caregivers who spoke about surprising behaviours: children not knowing how to play together, and youths’ inability to connect with each other for any length of time. We knew where to get guidance.

The MEHRIT Centre, based in Peterborough, was founded by Dr. Shanker in 2012 to help parents, guardians and teachers promote self-regulation. Executive Director Dr. Susan Hopkins, who co-wrote Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators (2020) with Stuart Shanker, agreed to be our facilitator of a two-workshop series for caregivers in west Mississauga this spring.

“Self-Reg is a process,” said Susan to workshop participants. “Because we are talking about an excess of stress, [Self-Reg] is related to anything that is a challenge.”

“There is not a day goes by that someone doesn’t have a conversation with me about the young children…It is COVID related, but we were challenged before COVID, too,” Susan added.

The series helps participants learn how Self-Reg holds the key to creating more calm. Sessions explore:

● Misbehaviour vs. Stress Behaviour

● The Self-Reg Framework

○ 5 Practices: Reframe, Recognize, Reduce, Reflect & Restore

○ 5 Domains of Stress: Biological, Emotion, Cognitive, Social and Prosocial

● Self-Reg informed strategies to support children and youth

● Example scenarios for parents/guardians

Recordings of Susan Hopkins speaking to Erin Mills Connects’ community

Session 1 is an hour and 12 minutes.

Session 2’s webinar with Susan on May 18, 2023 is available below. It is 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Resources from The MEHRIT Centre for participants are posted here:

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