Federation of Earlswood Schools

A Place to Learn Together

We offer Nursery Provision to Year 6

Zones of Regulation at Home

Tips for using The Zones of Regulation at Home


Before using Zones of Regulation at home:

  • Know yourself and how you react in difficult situations before dealing with your child’s behaviours.
  • Identify your child’s triggers. 
  • Have clear boundaries/routines and always follow through. 
  • Talk through the zones with your child and discuss:
  • What emotion they might feel in each zone e.g. in the yellow zone I may feel worried
  • How they physically feel in each zone e.g. in yellow zone I may have butterflies in my stomach or have sweaty palms (if feeling anxious).
  • What they might be doing in a particular zone e.g. in yellow zone would they might be pacing around, snapping at others, fidgeting?
  • Create a list of strategies and tools with your child that help them feel calm or more alert (see ideas below). 


How to support your child to regulate their emotions:

  • 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.
  • Do not deal with an angry or upset child when you are not yet calm yourself.
  • Support your child to regulate their feelings before you respond to their behaviour and discuss strategies for next time.

For example, if your child is angry and has hurt their sibling:

  1. Empathise with them and validate what they are feeling.
  2. Help them calm down using a strategy.
  3. When they are out of the red zone, talking to them about their behaviour, give consequences if appropriate, and then identify what they should do next time they feel angry. 


Calming and Alerting Strategies

At school, the children have strategies and tools to help them cope and regulate their emotions. Having a space at home where children can go and use their preferred ‘tools’ would be beneficial for them too. Having everything gathered in one-place helps them to remember to use their tool and so you might like to create a box to keep things that help your child regulate their feelings in periods of distress.


Here are some ideas of tools you could put in your child’s box:


  1. Picture cards of sensory break activities e.g. stretching, star jumps (see example from twinkl).


  1. Self-Soothing Objects that help to calm you through your senses: 

• Something to touch – e.g. stuffed animal, stress ball 

• Something to hear – e.g. instrument, musical box 

• Something to see – e.g. photographs of special memories, snowglobe, sensory bottle (see example from twinkl) 

• Something to smell – e.g. candles, perfume, lavender bag 


2. Distractions to take your mind off the problem for a while, e.g. puzzles, colouring pages, books, artwork, crafts, sewing, wordsearches, Sudoku.


  1. Opposite action activities– do something that is opposite to your impulse that is consistent with a more positive emotion: 

• affirmations and inspiration – e.g. looking at drawings or motivational statements 

• something funny – e.g. funny movies, books 


  1. Emotional Awareness – tools for identifying and expressing your feelings, e.g. a chart of emotions, paper and pens, art supplies. 


5. Mindfulness – tools for helping keep yourself in the present moment, e.g. grounding objects (rock, paperweight), breathing exercise cards (see example from twinkl).


Online Resources

Here are just a few great websites that can support children regulate their emotions.


Common Questions on the Zones of Regulation 

Can my child be in more than one zone at the same time? 

Yes. Your child may feel tired (blue zone) because they did not get enough sleep, and anxious (yellow zone) because they are worried about something. Listing more than one zone reflects a good sense of personal feelings and alertness levels.


Should children have consequences for being in the RED zone? 

It’s best for children to experience the natural consequences of being in the RED zone. If a child’s actions/choices hurt someone or destroys property, they need to repair the relationship and take responsibility for the mess they create. Once the child has calmed down, use the experience as a learning opportunity to process what the child would do differently next time.


Can you look like one zone on the outside and feel like you are in another zone on the inside? 

Yes. Many of us “disguise” our zone to match social expectations. We use the expression “put on a happy face” or mask the emotion so other people will have good thoughts about us. Parents often say that their children “lose it” and go into the RED zone as soon as they get home. This is because children are increasing their awareness of their peers and expectations. They make every effort to keep it together at school to stay in the GREEN zone. Home is when they feel safe to let it all out.