The Zones of Regulation
As part of our PSHE curriculum, we have introduced the Zones of Regulation to the children throughout the school. The Zones of Regulation will support our pupils to gain the skills to understand their emotions, regulate their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. This may also be a useful strategy to use at home.
There are four different coloured 'zones' which help pupils to categorise the feelings they experience and allow them to improve their ability to recognise and communicate these feelings in a safe, non-judgmental way. It will also allow the pupils to tap into strategies and tools to help them move between zones, resulting in a regulated, calm state or the 'Green Zone'.
You may be familiar with the children's animation 'Inside Out'. We have linked the characters from the film to each of the zones, to help the children remember which colour is linked to which emotion.
The Blue Zone
The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness, such as when a person feels sad, tired, sick or bored. This is when their body and/or brain is moving slowly or feeling sluggish.
The Green Zone
The Green Zone is used to describe a regulated state of alertness. A person may be described as calm, happy, focused or content when in the Green Zone. This is the zone pupils need to be in at school and for being social and show control.
The Yellow Zone
The Yellow Zone is used to describe a heightened state of alertness; however, a person has some control when in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, nervousness, confusion, and many more slightly elevated emotions and states in the Yellow Zone (such as wiggly, squirmy, or sensory seeking). The Yellow Zone is a sign that a person is starting to lose control.
The Red Zone
The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness or very intense feelings. A person may be experiencing anger, rage, explosive behaviour, panic, terror, or elation when in the Red Zone. Being in the Red Zone can best be explained by not being in control of one’s body.
Why use the Zones of Regulation at home?
- The 'zones' support the use of a consistent shared language to discuss emotions together.
- They are simple for children to understand.
- They support children in labelling emotions and identifying how they are feeling.
- The 'zones' help children to understand that there are no 'bad' emotions.
- Children learn healthy coping and regulation strategies which allow them to, eventually, help themselves when they lose control of their emotions, become stressed, anxious or sad.
- Typically, children who can self-regulate will turn into teens and young adults who can self-regulate.
- Understanding the emotions of others helps with empathy and friendship skills.
What can I do as a parent?
Talk to your child about:
- How they are feeling; help them to label and name their emotion. Identify your own feelings using 'Zones' language in front of your child (e.g. “I’m frustrated, I am in the yellow zone.”)
- Talk about their body cues when they feel each emotion. What are the physical feelings behind the emotion? (e.g. feeling butterflies in our tummy when we feel nervous or worried) Recognising emotions is the first step to regulating them.
- Discuss why they are feeling a certain way; has anything happened?
- Talk about times when you, a family member or a character from a film or book felt that way.
Key Points to remember:
- There is no ‘bad’ zone.
- Everyone experiences all of the 'zones' at different times and in different circumstances.
- We can’t change the way children feel but we can help them to manage their feelings/states and behaviours.
- You can be in more than one 'zone' at a time e.g. sad and angry.
The Zone Toolbox
We will be teaching and encouraging the children to develop strategies and tools that they can use to help them regulate their 'zones'. We aim to teach the children that there are tools that can be used to influence their 'zones' and the tools which work best for them. We want children to identify strategies to move from the 'Blue', 'Yellow' or 'Red' Zone back into the 'Green' Zone and further tools on how to stay in that 'zone'. Attached below are some resources on how to develop your own toolkit at home and ideas to try.