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Zones of Regulation


At Samares School we use the Zones of Regulation to teach children skills of self regulation and to develop knowledge and understanding of ourselves and of others. 

Across the school, all staff use the Zones of Regulation to help support all children. This shared approach ensures consistency and develops understanding for children of how to self regulate.

We hold parent workshops to help parents understand this approach too, and many parents have reported that they have found it a helpful tool to use at home. Some resources to support parents and slides from our recent seminar can be found in the links at the bottom of this page.

We refer to coloured zones to describe how a child may be feeling at a given time. It is never wrong to be in a given zone - it is how we learn to manage ourselves in this zone that matters.

We work with the children to help them identify zones in themselves and in others, before moving on to develop bespoke toolkits to help give children strategies to cope when they find themselves or someone else in a given zone. 

The Zones of Regulation also teaches children about how to manage different problems and that a response to a problem needs to be proportionate to the size of that problem. We use the following chart to help: 

How can you help your child use The Zones of Regulation at home?

  • Identify your own feelings using Zones language in front of your child (e.g.: I’m frustrated. I think I am in the Yellow Zone.”)
  • Talk about what tool you will use to be in the appropriate Zone (e.g.: “I need to take four deep breaths to help get me back to the Green Zone.”)
  • At times, wonder which Zone your child is in. Or, discuss which Zone a character in a film / book might be in. (e.g.: “You look sleepy. Are you in the Blue Zone?”)
  • Engage your child in discussion around Zones when they are in the Red Zone is unlikely to be effective. You need to be discussing the different Zones and tools they can use when they are more regulated / calm.
  • Regular Check-ins. “How are you feeling now?”
  • Modelling - It is important to remember to show the children how you use tools. You might say “I am going to make myself a cup of tea and do some breathing exercises because I am in the blue zone”.
  • Share how their behaviour is affecting your Zone. For example, if they are in the Green Zone, you could comment that their behaviour is also helping you feel happy / go into the Green Zone.
  • Put up and reference the Zones visuals and tools in your home.
  • Praise and encourage your child when they share which Zone they are in.

These ‘tools’ aren’t just for school: they can be used at home too so you can help your child to regulate (manage) their emotions.

What would go in your Zones of Regulation toolkit? Think about:

  • What helps you to calm down when you are stressed?
  • What helps you to focus when you are tired?
  • What do you do to calm down when you are angry?

Different tools work for different people.  Can you help your child choose what works for them when they need to move from one zone to another?

Use the link below (Zones tools) to explore lots of ideas for helping your child to regulate their emotions including:

  • Sensory tools
  • Breathing techniques
  • Grounding techniques
  • Calming activities
  • Thinking techniques