HIBBING — The early childhood years are a time for discovery and learning. These are the years when children first begin to interact with the world and begin to understand their role within it.

This isn’t an easy thing to do, as many parents learn as they start to navigate the often challenging world of their child’s emotions. Children are prone to get caught up in their emotions, and act out in ways that can be frustrating or confusing for the parent.

Have you ever felt you could have dealt with those situations better?

Kelsey Unger, a licensed clinical counselor who works with Children’s Mental Health Services (CMHS), will be discussing how we can help children learn to regulate their emotions as a presenter for the Pediatric Speaker Information Nights.

The presentation is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1,. in Greenhaven Elementary School Cafeteria. It is sponsored by Fairview and Essentia Health and is in cooperation with St. Louis County Public Health and Hibbing Early Childhood Family Education.

A Hibbing native, Unger knows the topic of emotional regulation well. For the last five years, she has worked with CMHS, helping children from birth to 18 years old and their families. Her work takes place not only in the office, but also within elementary schools.

CMHS is a comprehensive mental health center primarily serving children and families since 1988. Most of their work takes place in area schools.

Unger’s presentation is titled “Teaching Children Emotion Regulation Skills.”

The presentation will focus on how caregivers or individuals that work with children can help children learn to identify their emotions, different ways to teach children to calm down, ways to promote resiliency in children and how to promote self care in caregivers.

“Emotion regulation is important for children because it is an important life skill that impacts their everyday lives,” said Unger. “For many children, it is impossible to focus on making friends or their academics if they are not able to control or understand the feelings that they experience. … The skill of regulating emotions carries on and benefits a person in adulthood as well.”

Research shows that the ability for a child to regulate their emotions is directly linked to future success in school transitions and later academic achievement.

Many of us think that academic skills, such as counting and knowing your ABCs, should be the focus when it comes to early childhood education. But emotional regulation — the ability for a child to understand and express their feelings in a constructive way — is equally, if not more important for successful children.

There are some simple ways to help a child learn self-control. Unger will be addressing these in her presentation.

“I hope that participants take away different techniques of ways to calm down and activities to use with their own children,” she explained.

The event is free and open to the public. Certificates of attendance will be available. You can register to attend and to reserve childcare for children 0-8 years of age at Hibbing Early Childhood by calling (218) 208-0853 Ext. 1.

Pediatric speaker information nights are targeted toward families with children from birth to age eight, but any interested community members are welcome to attend. Three information nights are scheduled during the school year and speakers cover an array of topics parents encounter.

•••

If you go …

What: Pediatric Speaker Information Night “Teaching Children Emotion Regulation Skills” by licensed clinical children’s counselor Kelsey Unger, MS, LPCC

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1

Where: Greenhaven Elementary School Cafeteria

Cost: Free. Register with Hibbing Early Childhood to reserve childcare for children 0-8 years old by calling (218) 208-0853. Ext. 1

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