Who’d be a kid?! Yes they can bend and stretch in ways we can only dream of. And find complete joy in ice cream. And jump out of bed every morning with bags of energy. But, right about the age that they’re into Cosmic Kids they are also bobbing around in what we call a development soup...
You’ve stepped out of the comforts of home and family and super fun nurseries to be in school. Suddenly you’re surrounded by hundreds of other kids, some of whom are huge! You’re expected to go out into the playground and work out the rules of the game. You’re realising you’re good at some things, and perhaps not yet quite so good at others. You’ve started to be given feedback from teachers, and you might be comparing yourself to classmates. People might be mean to you.... This development soup is the big wide world, and it’s full of new challenges for kids. No wonder they can sometimes get the rage, or feel sad, stressed, withdrawn, overexcited, nervous...
Regulation = freedom!
We think self regulation is the key to kids surviving these big emotions and thriving in their new much bigger, busier and more complex context. The language - self regulation, or self management as it’s often called in the US - sounds boring, and almost self-limiting. Stay in line, behave yourself, hold emotions back.
But we see self regulation as freeing for kids, allowing them to get into their stride, helping them to not get blown off course by challenging emotions, not getting into conflicts or being upset when perhaps they don’t need to be. Self-regulation empowers kids to have fun, move forward and thrive.
In our Self Regulation Playlist we give kids ways to respond to 5 Big emotions.In Hulk it’s anger. In Lulu the Lion it’s about frustration. In Getting Wanty, it’s about that impulse you feel when you think just have to have something. In How to beat Nerves, it’s that sense of anxiety that bubbles up when you’re nervous about something. And in Sonic The Hedgehog it’s that physical over excitement that can overwhelm our bodies as well as our minds when we have too much energy.
There are of course lots of other big emotions and situations where we can benefit from self regulation, but we think there is a thread that runs through our films and much wider self regulation responses. That thread is mindfulness. Specifically, using mindfulness to give kids ways to notice big emotions, stop, breathe, and create the space to make a conscious (and hopefully positive!) choice. Beyond the Self regulation Playlist, our library of over 200 films is full of practical mindfulness tools that kids can choose from, make their own, hopefully internalise and use for years to come, all designed to help them when a mindful moment is what they need.
Beyond Cosmic Kids…
It’s not just Cosmic Kids that think self regulation is key for kids. There are countless brilliant childhood development thinkers, practitioners and content creators that focus on self regulation and it’s increasingly a part of formal education. In the UK where we’re based and where there is a centralised national curriculum, self regulation is a specific Early Years Learning Goal, and it’s covered really comprehensively by the government recommended programme of study for PSHE (Personal Social, Health and Economic Education) in primary schools. Self Management is also one of the CASEL Five which are the key areas of social and emotional competence that inform much of the social and emotional learning strategy in the US. We don’t always align with formal approaches to education, but on this one we very much agree - self regulation is key to kids’ development.
World peace no less…
And self regulation isn’t just key to kids’ happiness and development. If you’ll forgive us getting a little bit grand - we actually believe it’s the key to world peace! Everytime we see people getting into conflict, whether that be on twitter, standing in a line, in a sports stadium, or a government chamber… we think - if only they could stop when they feel emotions rising, take a breath, centre themselves and self regulate. The world will be a better, happier, more harmonious place.
I'm James, our Head of Impact. I help us understand the impact of our films for kids, parents and teachers, and I work with brilliant partners to share our films with cosmic kids who live with additional challenges.
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