Four R’s for ESP Parents – Self Care


ESP (Emotional Social Parenting)

ESP is how you connect to your child on a deep loving level.  What you need to remember is that it’s all about the love we have for our kids, the love we give to our kids, and the love we teach them to give to others.  A consistent, unconditional love that is ever-present with them even when they aren’t with us.

What are the Four R’s for ESP parents?

If we want to be consistent in our unconditional love with our kids, first, we have to love and take care of ourselves.  

These four R’s are Dr. Joanette’s suggestions for parents (actually all of us) to help us maintain a healthy emotional balance within our lives.


Take 7-8 Deep Breaths and Slowly Blow Them Out. 

You’re having a rough day, your toddler just had her third meltdown of the day, and it’s only 1 o’clock. 

 Kids struggle with feelings and emotions; the result is they may have frequent tantrums or periods of dysregulation.  When your child is dysregulated, it is essential to provide calm self-regulation in the face of her dysregulation.  A dysregulated child will absorb your regulation, leading to co-regulation and eventually self-regulation in the child.  I get it; this is hard.   I do this a lot to help me self-regulate.  I put a hand over my heart, take a deep breath and slowly blow out as if I’m blowing through a straw.  I repeat to myself a short mantra, depending on the circumstances.  As a parent, you can repeat some form of this mantra to yourself.   I am a good parent; my child is a good child; I can get through this.   Another favorite of mine is.  Deep breath – blow it out slowly and repeat.  There is nothing wrong with me; there is nothing wrong with my kid; I can cope with this.  

SIS (simple is smart) tip:  Dysregulation leads to co-regulation leads to self-regulation. 


Get 7 – 8 Hours of Sleep a Night. 

Sleep is essential to staying healthy.  While we sleep, our brain and body are busy and active.  Our brain removes toxins that have built up while we are awake.  Our body renews and repairs itself.  When we have a night of adequate sleep, we awake feeling refreshed, alert, and ready for the day. 


Drink 7 – 8 Glasses of Water a Day. 

Our bodies are 60% water.  Our brains and heart are 76% water, and our lungs are 83% water.  We need water to stay healthy.  If we don’t take in enough water and become dehydrated, our brains don’t work so well, causing confusion and “fuzzy thinking.”  (not the same as warm fuzzies).  What else does water do?  Water also helps with temperature regulation; it helps keep our joints lubricated and helps eliminate toxins from our body—time to get another glass of water. 


Set aside 70 – 80 minutes a day for you.  I get it-you’re busy, and what parent has an extra 70-80 minutes in the day.   Think about it though if you take 40 minutes in the morning before the kids wake up and a half-hour in the evening after the kids are asleep, you have 70 minutes.   Use the time to meditate, exercise, take a walk, read a book, journal, or relax with your feet up while you scroll through your phone.    

There will be days when you can’t find the time for yourself.  Make those days a minibreak day and take 7 – 8 minutes for you at the end of the day.