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Sunday, January 3, 2010

When is Co-regulation Mastered?

How do you know when your child has mastered co-regulation?  Here are some things to look for:

1. Your child should no longer be resistant to being with you.  In fact, s/he should start to want to participate in your familiar, co-regulatory activities.  Once your child starts initiating these interactions with you, you are well on your way towards mastery.

2.  Your child should be more interested in the variations you are adding to the pattern than in the initial pattern itself.  If you recall, the steps to setting up co-regulation consist of: a) establishing the initial pattern, b) adding small variation to the pattern, c) if child likes variations, keep them, if not, return to initial pattern.  Your child should be showing more interest in the variations than in the initial pattern.  If your child is still focused on the initial pattern, keep working on it. 

3. Your child should notice when you are engaged and abruptly become disengaged.   If you are sharing a moment of face-to-face, excited emotion sharing with your child (you are smiling at one another in anticipation or celebration), let your face go blank.  Your child should a) notice that your face has changed, and b) make an attempt to get you to re-engage (smile again).

If you are consistently noticing all three of the above, then it is likely that your child has mastered co-regulation, and is ready to work on coordination.  This is where many families are likely to rush things.  It is important that you are noticing these things consistently.  If you notice that your child is doing some of these things, some of the time, that is a good sign that they are getting closer, but you should see these things more often than not.  This is where it is helpful to review video clips, and even to have a third party who is not emotionally involved take a look at them.  It can also be helpful to compare new clips to clips that were filmed last week or last month, to see if there are changes.  Co-regulation is the foundation for social interaction, so it is very important to master it fully. 

Remember, you will be noticing these things when you are working with your child one on one, in familiar settings with familiar activities.  Other people, like teachers and family members, might start to notice subtle changes, but at this point, the biggest differences will be seen at home, one-on-one. 

1 comment:

The Glasers said...

I am going to definitely share this post when people ask about co-regulation. Your explanation is very clear!