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Zones of Regulation

At St Alphege CE Schools we have adopted a whole school approach to supporting children to self-regulate and develop their understanding of their own and others’ emotions. One way that we do this is through using the Zones of Regulation. 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 displays in every classroom.

Sometimes children can’t or don’t want to name the emotion but they are encouraged to identify which zone they are in by ‘checking in’ throughout the day. This is modelled by staff sharing their own feelings and problem solving through ‘thinking aloud’ and suggesting ‘tools’ to help them self-regulate.

At Home

You can support you child/children at home by asking them which zone they are in a nd 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 or unsafe.

Problem solving with your child to them feel calmer will also really help. “I wonder if some colouring might help”, “Why don’t we try reading your favourite story together.” Encourage them to build up a ‘tool kit’ of strategies that help them to feel safe again.

Suggested strategies include:

  • relaxing music
  • children’s yoga for deep breathing exercises
  • reading
  • mindfulness
  • exercise (going for a walk or a run)
  • having a stretch
  • talking to an adult (someone on our personal ‘network’)
  • colouring/drawing

The key message is to help your child understand that ‘feelings are just feelings’ and it is normal to experience all of the zones. However, they do need to find ways to help themselves manage these emotions in order to keep themselves and others safe. This will also help them with their self-esteem and resilience.