The Zones of Regulation Program is one of the Pastoral Care programs explicitly taught at Living Faith. The program helps children to manage difficult emotions, known as ‘self-regulation’.
Self-regulation can go by many names such as ‘self-control’, ‘impulse management’ and ‘self-management’. Self-regulation is best described as the state of alertness for a situation. For example, when your child takes part in a sports game, they would need to have a higher state of alertness than when, for example, they were working in a library. From time to time, all of us (including adults) find it hard to manage strong feelings such as worry, anger, restlessness, fear or tiredness, and this stops us from getting on with our day effectively. Children who feel these emotions often find it hard to learn and concentrate in school or may experience social problems in the playground.
As we move towards the end of the term, children tend to need more support with self regulation strategies as they are generally tired and/or routines may be different due to the many different events on the calendar leading into the end of the year. This is a good opportunity to teach children good coping and regulation strategies so they can help themselves when they experience anxiety and stress. Teaching children how to cope with these feelings might make them better at tackling similar problems in the future and build better resilience so they don’t give up so easily when faced with difficulty.
Strategies to help your child regulate their emotions include:
● Go for a walk
● Wall push ups
● Roll on an exercise ball
● Lazy 8 breathing
● Square breathing
● Count objects/colours
● Count pulse
● Listen to music
Another way to support children towards the end of the year when routines are changing is to ask them to identify the size of the problem. Is it a big problem or a little problem? Big problems have no easy, quick or pleasant solution. Medium problems are shared by others and may take some time to resolve. Little problems are problems that only affect one to two people and can be ignored or are resolved in a matter of minutes.
Below are some possible problems students may identify with you and possible solutions:
● Missed play time due to changed routines (medium problem) - teachers will take students out to play at an alternative time.
● Forgotten item needed for school (little problem) - talk to class teacher and determine a solution.
● Not enough time to eat (little problem) - talk to class teacher and share the problem.
● Tired and not able to focus in class (medium problem) - talk to parents/carers and class teacher.
● Worried about having a different teacher in 2024 - (medium problem) - talk to parents/class teacher about what will remain the same in 2024. Share with children that even if they are in a different class to their friends, they will see them at lunch time. Given the learning style at Living Faith, classes work as a year level so it is possible they will still have opportunities to work with friends despite being in different classes.
Director of Senior Primary