Nervous System Regulation – Skills I Wish I Had Learned Earlier

Every Monday morning, we have a First 5 Mendocino staff meeting, to discuss our projects and what we have coming up. We start every staff meeting with a very basic Grounding practice that we’ve learned with the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) from the Trauma Resource Institute. Grounding is one of six wellness skills that help bring the nervous system into a state of balance and resilience. I’ve noticed how much that weekly practice helps me check in with my nervous system and manage the day-to-day stresses of life and work.

Learning about the brain’s response to stress has helped me understand my own nervous system, how to track my body’s responses to emotions, and helped me learn tools to use when life gets overwhelming. I wish these were tools I’d known about sooner, which has made me reflect on why teaching nervous system regulation to children earlier in life can be beneficial.

Three key benefits to teaching CRM skills to children:

  1. Trauma-Informed Approach: Implementing the CRM in schools allows for a trauma-informed approach to education. Many students experience various forms of trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence, which can significantly impact their mental health and ability to learn. CRM equips educators with tools to understand, recognize, and respond to trauma in students, creating a safe and supportive learning environment. By addressing trauma and teaching wellness skills, schools can promote resilience and improve academic outcomes.
  2. Emotional Regulation: The CRM tools provide strategies for emotional regulation, helping students and educators manage stress and anxiety effectively. By teaching simple yet powerful skills, such as tracking sensations and grounding techniques, CRM can empower individuals to regulate their nervous system response to stress. These skills can be integrated into daily classroom routines, fostering emotional well-being and reducing behavioral issues. As a result, students can focus better on learning, leading to improved academic performance.
  3. Building Resilience: CRM emphasizes the development of resilience, which is crucial for students’ long-term success. Through various resilience-building techniques, such as resourcing and grounding, students learn to access their internal strengths and resources to overcome challenges. By cultivating resilience, students are better equipped to handle adversity, bounce back from setbacks, and thrive academically and personally. CRM also promotes a sense of connectedness within the school community, reducing shame and fostering a supportive network of peers, educators, and administrators.

Being able to offer students a deeper understanding of their own nervous systems can be an empowering tool in helping them have access to emotional regulation skills. By promoting emotional well-being, schools can create a positive learning environment conducive to academic success and personal growth.

Schedule a CRM Workshop

Most of our staff at First 5 Mendocino is trained in facilitating CRM Workshops. If you are interested in scheduling an in-depth CRM workshop for professionals or a hands-on, simplified CRM in Practice workshop for children, contact our Community Education Manager, Megan Carson at

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