Tips for using The Zones of Regulation at Home
Before using Zones of Regulation at home:
How to support your child to regulate their emotions:
For example, if your child is angry and has hurt their sibling:
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:
• 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.
• affirmations and inspiration – e.g. looking at drawings or motivational statements
• something funny – e.g. funny movies, books
5. Mindfulness – tools for helping keep yourself in the present moment, e.g. grounding objects (rock, paperweight), breathing exercise cards (see example from twinkl).
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.