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Zones of Regulation

 

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The Zones of Regulation: Overview

Leah Kuypers created The Zones of Regulation in 2011. She and her team provide training and resources for schools and individuals looking to use the Zones Framework with children.

This article is an overview for parents. It covers a brief explanation of what the Zones of Regulation are, how they’re taught to children, and how you can begin using the concepts in your own home.

It does not serve as a replacement for the official Zones Framework, simply a starting point for parents who want to find out more.

What Does The Zones Teach Children?

This program teaches a variety of social-emotional skills to children, starting with early emotional skills and advancing on to self-regulation and navigating social situations..

Here are some skills taught during The Zones of Regulation:

  • Identifying your emotions by categorizing feelings into four zones (more on this below)
  • Self-regulation: Achieving the preferred state of alertness (zone) for a situation. This is all about regulating your body and emotional regulation.
  • Identifying triggers: Learning what makes you “tick” and why
  • Coping strategies: Various techniques and strategies that help achieve emotional regulation and manage strong emotions
  • Size of the problem: Introduces the idea that the size of your reaction should match the size of your problem, how to identify the size of your problem, and strategies for problem-solving.
  • Expected behavior vs unexpected behavior: This also covers perspective taking and how your behavior affects the thoughts and feelings of the people around you

What Are The Zones Colors & Their Meanings?

The Zones of Regulation uses four colors to help children self-identify how they’re feeling and categorize it based on color.

The curriculum also helps children better understand their emotions, sensory needs, and thinking patterns.

They learn different strategies to help them cope and manage their emotions based on which color zone they’re in.

Additionally, the Zones of Regulation helps kids recognize their own triggers, learn to read facial expressions, develop problem-solving skills, and become more attuned to how their actions affect other people (Kuypers, L.M, 2011).

 

The Green Zone

The green zone is used to describe when you’re in a calm state of alertness.

Being in the green zone means you are calm, focused, happy, or ready to learn. This is predominantly the state you want your child to be in.
It’s also the state most needed in the classroom in order to learn.
 

The Yellow Zone

The yellow zone describes when you have a heightened sense of alertness. This isn’t always a bad thing, and you still have some control of your actions when you’re in the yellow zone.
Being in the yellow means you may feel frustrated, anxious or nervous. But, it could also mean you’re feeling excited, silly, or hyper – which is okay in the right situations.

The Red Zone

The red zone describes an extremely heightened state of intense emotions. When a person reaches the red zone, they’re no longer able to control their emotions or reactions.
This is the zone kids are in during meltdowns.
Being in the red zone means you’re feeling anger, rage, terror, or complete devastation and feel out of control.

The Blue Zone

The blue zone, on the other hand, is used when a person is feeling low states of alertness or arousal.
When you’re in the blue zone you may be feeling down – sad, sick, tired, or bored. You’re still in control, as you are in the yellow zone, but with low energy emotions.
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