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What are the Zones of Regulation and Size of the Problem?

Click below for the visuals that you can print and have at home as well.

Zones of Regulation and Size of the Problem

Self-regulation is defined as the best state of alertness of both the body and emotions for the specific situation.  For example, when a child plays on the playground, it is beneficial to have a higher state of alertness.  However, that same state would not be appropriate in the library.  Lessons are taught on how to use strategies to change or stay in the zone they are in.  In addition, they will learn perspective about how others see and react to their behavior, insight into events that trigger their behavior, calming and alerting strategies, and problem solving skills.

You can support your child during this process by doing the following:

·       Use the language and talk about the concepts of The Zones as they apply.  For example, “This is really frustrating me and making me go into the Yellow Zone.  I need to use a tool to calm down.  I will take some deep breaths.”

·       Point out your observations of the zones your child is in which are BLUE (Sad, bored, sick, or tired), GREEN (Happy, calm, focused and the preferred zone most of the time), YELLOW (Frustrated, worried, excited, loss of some control and the warning zone) or RED (Mad, terrified, elated or out of control).

·       Talk about what zone is “expected” in the situation or how the zone may have been “unexpected”. For example, you would expect a student to be in the blue zone if someone died or they are sick.

·       Share with the child how his or her behavior is affecting the zone you are in and how you feel.

·       Encourage your child to share the zone they are in with you.

·       Figure out your child’s triggers and give reminders to use calming or alert tools to get back to the green zone.  Alerting tool are exercising or moving if in the blue zone and calming tools are deep breathes, counting, drawing, etc. if in a yellow or red zone.

·       Frequently reinforce the child for being in the expected zone rather than only pointing out when his or her zone is unexpected.

It is important to note that everyone experiences all of the zones – Red and Yellow Zones are not the “bad” or “naughty “zones.  All of the zones are expected at one time or another. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or wish to gather more information. I may be reached at 360-604-3325 X 2057 or




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