I was so excited when I came up with the zones of regulation coping strategies dice. Children can always benefit from visual cues to help them regulate their emotions. Sometimes they need some strategies to get their state of alertness back in the green.
Here are some ideas for zones of regulation coping strategies. A free printable for making these coping strategies dice and information about what’s in my zones of regulation toolbox.
How it works.
Zones of regulation is often used by school counsellors, occupational therapists, teachers, early childhood educators and now, parents too. By using visual cues, daily ‘check in’s and by prompting coping strategies in a safe “chill zone” or “calm space”, children are guided to regulate their levels of alertness.
For instance, if they experience big emotions, these visual cues identify the emotion and provide appropriate sensory/tactile strategies that may help them calm down. This helps them get back into an optimal and balanced state of arousal.
By offering regular “how do you feel check in’s” and prompts, the caregiver provides scaffolding for a child to learn to self-identify their emotions and how they can better cope with them. Emotional awareness is so important. Anything that helps kids regulate big emotions is a win in my books!
You don’t have to be a specialist to implement zones of regulation coping strategies.
Parents should 100% deliver activities for developing empathy and emotional regulation like these zones of regulation coping strategies. Parents are the number one learning source for children. This attachment relationship is often where children let it all out. Yes, it can feel like you bear the brunt of your child’s “big emotions” (aka meltdowns, tantrums, and ear curdling protests). You most likely do. Kids lay ALL their emotions on you because…
- You are their safety net,
- You can see them at their worst and still love them,
- They’re still developing the part of the brain that experiences and copes with emotions and …
- They trust you are their calm, unconditional, loving boundary and guide to help them through.
Why are emotional awareness play activities delivered by parents effective for developing empathy and emotional regulation in children? The key is not the activities. The activity is just the vehicle that facilitates connection, play-based learning and development of an area that is often overlooked. Social Emotional Skills.
I designed this ‘Zones Cube’ as a tool that parents, OT’s, teachers and counsellors can use to focus on developing coping strategies. While also utilising a zones of regulation calm space and toolbox. If you would like my poster set and zones coping strategies idea tabs that can go in your toolbox you can get them here or by clicking the picture below.
This resource is excellent for a calm corner and has visual reminders on self-regulation. There is also a reflection check in activity sheet, and ofcourse the posters and dice. In a group environment as a game, this can also help peers. They may become more aware, vigilant and helpful to friends who they notice are not within the optimal zone of regulation. If you want some ideas on what to put in your zone space keep reading…
The Zones of regulation coping strategies cubes.
All you need to do is cut out the templates. Click here to print the templates.
- Cut around the black tabs
- Fold the black tabs back
- Fold each cube face in
- Put glue on the black tabs
- Make the cube. The last tab will be the most fiddley.
Tip: Leave one tab with no glue and one cube face open. Wait until the glue sets on all other tabs, (it will look like an open box). This will make it easier to manage, rather than trying to hold all sides at ones.
How to use the regulation strategies dice.
Set up a calm space, or a relaxation nook with these posters. We call ours the chill out zone. Within this space you should have some self-regulation strategies and tools. Along with the strategies ideas tabs, which help children identify which zone they are in and how it makes them feel. Have the dice there, so if kids identify their zone and don’t know how to self-regulate, they can roll the associated zone dice and get a coping strategy to try.
Including things like, a soft and calm place to sit or lay with some textured pillows. Books. Some sensory toys. Some posters and visual aides to help children identify which zone they are in, and of course the zones of regulation strategies cubes.
What to put in a Zones of regulation strategies space?
- This poster set.
- Some sensory bottle. You can make your own, here is our post on making sensory bottles for self regulation.
- The dice.
- Some books.
- And a self regulation tool box.
Books for a Zones of regulation space.
Click on the image to read more about or purchase these books.
Here are some of our favourites.
More activities on emotional awareness.
If you follow me on social media or directly here at PBP, you might be aware that I am passionate about purposeful play in the area emotional intelligence and social skills. I think we all need to provide play options that really drill down to the important core concepts that will help our children learn, grow and thrive now and into the future.
Here are some you might like…
Honestly, in this fast paced-busy world, I think it is crucial to teach children to look out for themselves and others, in an emotionally intelligent kind of way. For the mental health of our children and their generation, simple purposeful play concepts that address emotions and self-regulation skills shouldn’t be overlooked.
Join the Facebook group to share your own play based learning.