THE ZONES OF REGULATION
The Zones of Regulation is a programme that aims to help children notice the emotion they are feeling and then regulate themselves if they are feeling uncomfortable.
The programme starts by helping children to identify which zone an emotion or feeling is in.
This is where you would be if you are feeling tired, sad, bored or sick. In general you are feeling slow and are mostly feeling uncomfortable.
This is where you feel happy, pleased, proud, content, calm and ready to learn. This is the ideal zone for children to be in when in class, feeling comfortable.
This is when there is some loss of control; you may feel worried, scared or frustrated, behave in a silly way or be excited. In this zone you can be either comfortable or uncomfortable.
This is where there is a loss of control and can also be either comfortable of uncomfortable. You could be feeling rage, fury, elation or total fear.
The children explore these zones and learn to be able to identify which zone they are in. This is supported by all staff who wear zone cards attached to their lanyards. There are also posters in every room, and a copy can be found at the bottom of this page. Sometimes children can’t or don’t want to name the emotion but they can identify which zone they are in.
Children also learn that their feelings and emotions can lead to expected and unexpected behaviours and that those behaviours can have an impact on the children and adults around them. If you are in the red zone and yelling at your friend it is unlikely that your friend will be in the green zone.
We also may scale the problem with the children. A copy of the scale is also at the bottom of this page for your reference. Does the size of the reaction match the problem? Is this really a yellow zones problem or is it more like a green zone problem?
Once children understand the concept of the zones they will they explore ways to help regulate themselves with the support of sensory devices and calming techniques.
We want to help all children recognize when they are beginning to feel uncomfortable in the yellow zone and have a toolbox of ideas to help them regulate themselves.
You can support you child/children at home by asking them which zone they are in and using I wonder
“I wonder if you are in the yellow zone at the moment, you seem a bit worried.’ Naming the emotion will help them with their emotional literacy and show them that you can see they are feeling uncomfortable.
Exploring sensory ideas to help your child feel calmer will also really help. Some children find colouring, play dough, using stress balls, time at the park or reading really beneficial.
You could also try using relaxing music, children’s yoga for deep breathing exercises or mindfulness.
The key message is to help your child understand that it is ok to feel angry, be worried or scared but they do need to find ways to help themselves manage those uncomfortable feelings and self-sooth. This will also help them with their self-esteem and resilience.
I hope you find this information useful, please do contact me at school if you would like any more information about the zones and ways to use them.