Zones of Regulation

Sometimes behaviors are seemingly unavoidable, and then in other instances we make out selfs so upset that it leads to destructive episodes.

Something that I have found to be a useful tool to use with higher functioning kiddos is the Zones of Regulation. The Zones of Regulation is a tool that our kids can use on their own, after some constructive modeling, to calm them selves down.

The zones look something like this:

Blue Zone: tired, sad, lazy, etc.
Green Zone: attentive, focused, ready to learn.
Yellow Zone: frustrated, scared, nervous, silly (slap happy), pushing or shoving.
Red Zone: mad, hitting/kicking/biting, crying.

How it works is you first label the emotions and pair them with the appropriate zone. This can be done with cut out examples of the emotion and have the child match them with the correct color. Next, when the child is experiencing a certain color you can ask them what color they are and what color they need to be.

So if a kiddo is starting to show signs of emotional distress you can ask them what color they are (yellow). Then give them strategies to get themselves out of the yellow zone and into the green zone (the target zone).

Strategies could involve:
1. Three deep breaths (“blow out the candles”)
2. Take a break or a walk
3. Talk to someone about your feelings

When the child is in the red or yellow zone, reminding them of the strategies in the beginning will be conducive to them working through their issues on their own at a later date. Ideally you want to intervene while the child is still in the yellow zone, before it’s too late in a lot cases and try flip into full meltdown mode that comes with the red zone. Having a peer to help with labeling or be a supporter for your child is also a really good way to teach this technique also.

For more information refer to the link below:
Zones of Regulation

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