It seems that self-regulation is a topic that comes up the most in early childhood. Our goal for all children is that they feel comforable in their bodies, learn ways to help themselves calm, so that they can participate fully in their learning environment. Below is a list of resources that we use to gather strategies and activities for working on self-regulation with the children at school. Some of these strategies and activities will also work at home or can be adapted to suit your needs.
Strategies for maintaining SELF REGULATION
Zones of Regulation- Gets adults thinking about the sensory needs of their children and how the environment might help ease or prevent behaviors. The sensory areas include vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, proprioceptive, and vestibular. The green zone is a zone where a child is ready to learn and attend; the yellow zone is where they are excited, nervous, or slightly frustrated; and the red zone is where the child is not able to focus at all, very mad, crying, screaming, etc.
Calm Down Chart- A chart that helps children visualize how to calm by moving from a level of 5 (very agitated aroused) to a level of one (calm and ready to participate in what is going on). The chart guides the child through physical actions like rubbing their legs or squeezing their hands to help them become less and less agitated.
Lazy 8- the child traces the lazy 8 while they breath.
Belly breathing with a small stuffed animal (like a Beanie Baby) placed on child’s stomach so he/she can watch the animal rise and fall while he/she breaths in and out.
Darth Vader Breathing-Put your hands clasped under your chin with arms out. As you breath in through your nose, raise your arms up, as you breath out through your mouth, make a Darth Vader like noise and bring your arms down.
Tucker Turtle- Tucker Turtle teaches children that when faced with a frustrating situation they can stop, go into their “shell”, take some breaths and think of a solution, and then try that solution.
Social Stories- A short story that tells what a child should expect from a given situation which also prompts them to behave in a socially appropriate manner.
Objects/materials- Try having these items on hand for your child to access when you see that they are starting to escalate: bubbles, play dough, squishy rubber toys/fidgets, weighted lap blanket (can be made from beans and fabric)
Give warnings and use visual timers-Give your child several minute warnings before transitioning to a new activity or place. To make the passage of time more visual for young children, try using a visual timer that shows time passing on a type of clock. These types of timers can be found by googling “visual timer.”
Strategies to talk about FEELINGS
Read books about feelings-
Mouse was Mad by Linda Urban
Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
When Sophie Gets Angry... by Molly Bang
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman
Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein
Sitting Still Like a Frog by Eline Snel
Nurtured Heart/Filling Your Bucket-
http://difficultchild.com/ The concept is that each person has an invisible bucket. When good things happen or we do kind things for others, our bucket gets more full. When we get frustrated or things aren’t going our way, the bucket feels empty.
Technical Assistance Center for Social Emotional Intervention- http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/
PBS kids, Daniel Tiger- http://pbskids.org/daniel/
Center on Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning- http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/family.html
Postive Behavior Intervention Supports http://www.pbisworld.com/