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New Year, New Way of Showing-up

December 13, 2023

We often talk about how children develop within the context of relationships and that they thrive when surrounded by responsive and empathic caregivers and educators. However, we all know that knowing is one thing–doing is another. 

We all get distracted and, at times, bogged down by the hustle and bustle of life and the obligations we must fulfill. However, a harried and stressed life can take a toll on our littlest family members and learners–during a time of critical brain development.

As we head into 2024 and reflect on areas in our lives where we can improve or bring more joy and satisfaction, we should consider that we can be more present, responsive and calm for the children in our lives–through actionable steps. Children are emotional detectives, constantly picking up on the emotions of those around them.


There are ways to become more available to children even in the midst of our own struggles when we can routinely take these steps.

6 Steps to Enhancing Self-awareness of our Emotions:

  1. Awareness: Becoming aware that a feeling is present through bodily signs.
  2. Acknowledgement: Acknowledging that you are experiencing a feeling.
  3. Identification: Recognizing, identifying and labeling the feeling by name.
  4. Acceptance: Accepting your feelings in the present moment.
  5. Reflection: Reflecting on what caused you to feel that way & how you reacted.
  6. Forecasting: Forecasting when the feeling might arise again & choosing the best course of action.

There are also great stress management techniques you can use daily, such as:

Stress Management Techniques

Physiological Regulation


  • Deep Breathing
  • Yoga 
  • Stretching
  • Taking space

Reflective Journaling


  • Personal account of daily experiences with no right or wrong answers
  • Promotes self-awareness



  • Being aware of your emotions, mental state and bodily sensations in the present moment
  • Tied to self-acceptance

Self-Care & Self-Love


  • Prioritizing yourself and remembering your purpose
  • “I am smart and well-intentioned. This is the work I do. My work is important. My work is good.” - Cindy Dudenhoffer

By consciously building our own emotional intelligence–by becoming more knowledgeable about our own emotions and better able to manage and regulate our emotions–through awareness exercises like the 6 steps above and stress management techniques, we can become better models for our children as we guide them through their own big emotions. When we become calmer and more regulated versions of ourselves, we can show up the way our children need us to and the way we need us to for ourselves as well. It’s the old oxygen mask rule.

As we head into the New Year, let’s resolve to give the children in our lives the strongest foundation possible to set them up for lifelong success and provide more joyful engagement between and among one another.

From all of us at Housman Institute,

Happy New Year!

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