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Zones of Regulation

What is Zones of Regulation?

Zones of Regulation is an approach used to support the development of self-regulation in children. All the different ways children feel and the states of alertness they experience are categorized into four coloured zones.

Children who are well regulated are able to be in the appropriate zone at the appropriate time.

Blue Zone

  • tired, sad

  • e.g., getting ready to go to bed.

Green Zone

  • calm, happy

  • e.g., doing a puzzle at table

Yellow Zone

  • silly, frustrated

  • e.g., playing chase game with friends

Red Zone

  • angry, out of control

  • e.g., jumping with excitement

Why use Zones of Regulation?

To teach children how to:

  1. Identify their feelings.

  2. Be aware of what zone they are in

  3. Start to use tools to be in the appropriate zone for the moment.

How do I introduce Zones of Regulation?

  1. Identify your own feelings using Zones language in front of your child (e.g., “I’m frustrated, I am in the yellow zone”)

  2. Talk about what tool you will use to be in the appropriate zone (e.g., “I’m going to go for a walk, I need to get to the green zone”)

  3. Label what zone your child is in throughout the day (e.g., “you look sleepy, you are in the blue zone”)

  4. Teach your child what Zones tools he can use to help him stay in the zone or move to a different zone (e.g., “it’s time for bed, let’s read a book together in the rocking chair. We’re in the blue zone”)

  5. Reference the visuals on the back of this handout when talking about zones.

What are Zones Tools?

  1. Zones tools are sensory based strategies that are easily accessible within your everyday environment

  2. Your occupational therapist can help to provide you with the appropriate set of tools.

  3. Printable materials for “Zones of Regulation” can be easily downloaded from the internet.

Remember: - Every zone is a good zone and appropriate at different times.

Your child’s zone will often mirror your zone, so think about what zone you are in before you try to help your child (e.g., if you yourself are in the red zone, it will be hard to help your child move from the red zone to a different zone)

To find out more about Educ8 schools please contact us on 0161 483 1505 or email

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