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St Stephen's

Building Each Other Up in Love and Learning

Zones of Regulation

Self-regulation is the ability recognise how you feel in your brain and body and therefore you are able to do something about it to feel better.

  • It includes the following:
    • Self-control
    • Resiliency
    • Self-management
    • Anger management
    • Impulse control
    • Sensory regulation

Often our students are unable to recognise or articulate their needs.  This impacts on their ability to learn and manage everyday challenges.

If our students are unable to regulate themselves, they cannot utilise their other skills and strengths.

To teach our children how to do this we use a programme called the Zones of Regulation.

The Zones of Regulation is full of a range of activities to help your child develop skills in the area of self-regulation.  Self-regulation can go by many names, such as self-control, self-management and impulse control.  It is defined as the best state of alertness of both the body and emotions for the specific situation.  For example, when your child plays in a basketball game, it is beneficial to have a higher state of alertness.  However, that same state would not be appropriate in the library.

There is progression across the curriculum with children in Early Years learning to identify different emotions to children in Upper Key Stage 2 discussing how our behaviour can impact upon the feelings of those around us.

Please read our guide to the Zones of Regulation at the bottom of the page.  If you have any questions, please ask your child’s class teacher.

Resources and information which were shared at the recent workshop are also available below, including the power point presentation and editable coloured zone cards.


Identify your own feelings using Zones language in front of your child (e.g. “I’m feeling frustrated because….. , I am in the Yellow Zone.”) 

  • Talk about which tool you will use to be in the appropriate Zone (e.g. “I’m going to go for a walk as I need to get to the Green Zone.”)
  • Provide positive reinforcement when your child is in the Green Zone and if they make efforts to stay in the Green Zone. Eg. “I can see you are working really hard to stay in the Green Zone by…”
  • Label which Zones your child is in throughout the day (e.g. “You look sleepy, I wonder if you are in the Blue Zone?”) 
  • Teach your child which Zone tools they can use (e.g. “It’s time for bed, let’s read a book together in the rocking chair to get to the Blue Zone.”) 
  • Post and reference the Zones visuals and tools in your home (Zone check in stations and toolboxes for the family!) Make portable Zones cards (see editable document on website). 
  • Play “Feelings Charades”

Take turns choosing emotions from a stack of cards or papers and act it out using only face and body clues. Guess each other’s emotion, discuss which Zone it’s in and why. (Added challenge: Name a tool you could use when feeling that emotion).

  • Play “Name that feeling”
  • People watch and guess the feelings/zones of others. 
  • Name the feelings of characters while watching a movie (and point out any strategies they use)
  • Read ‘The Way I Feel’ by Janan Cain.
  • Play “Zones Uno” (can be purchased online).

Bert feels sad

 Dory in the green zone

Elf in the yellow                                               

The Incredibles in the red zone!