Emotional Regulation: Whole-Body Check-In
To review our last post, emotional regulation is the ability to independently and effectively respond to emotional experiences to make good decisions. To help with emotional regulation, it is sometimes beneficial to do a whole-body check-in to see how our body is feeling, how we want our body to feel and a strategy to get our bodies to the optimal emotion. At Synergy Family Therapy Specialists, I have created a “Get in the Zone!” emotional regulation check-in system that guides therapists and children to explore their emotions and do a full body check-in prior to beginning therapy.
This emotional regulation check-in system is based on the Zones of Regulation curriculum which is a social-emotional educational framework that helps children learn about how they are feeling. The Zones of Regulation curriculum uses four colors to categorize emotions including the Blue Zone (sad, bored, tired, sick), the Green Zone (happy, focused, calm, proud, ready to learn), the Yellow Zone (worried, frustrated, silly, excited), and the Red Zone (overwhelmed, angry, mad, overjoyed, panicked). When using the “Get in the Zone!” wall located in the hallway of Synergy Family Therapy Specialists, it is important that the child have a general understanding of the Zones of Regulation and what the four colored zones mean. Your occupational therapist can help your child learn the zones if emotional regulation is a concern for you and your family!
Let’s go into more detail on the four steps of the “Get in the Zone!” wall:
Step 1: How is my body feeling?
This step allows the child to take a minute and self-reflect on how their body is feeling. The therapist and/or the parent can use guiding questions to help the child learn how their body is feeling. Once your child identifies how their body is currently feeling, we can move to step 2!
Step 2: How do I want my body to feel?
The second step allows the child to focus on how they want their body to feel. This step is kind of like creating a “goal” for the child. The goal is to get our body to the ____ zone! Reminder: All the zones are ok!! There is no right or wrong zone! There are appropriate times to be in each of the zone colors.
Step 3: Let’s pick a strategy!
The third step allows the child to create a “plan” for their goal that they identified in the previous step. The child will be able to pick a strategy to get to the zone that they chose in the step above. At the clinic, there are small binder clips located on the step 3 poster that contain different tools and strategies that can be used to get to a specific zone.
Step 4: Did it work?
Step 4 allows the child to self-reflect on their goal and their plan that they identified to see whether or not the strategy they chose worked! This step allows the child to “check” their work. If it works, great! If it didn’t work, then can we choose a different strategy?
If you are interested in implementing this emotional regulation check-in wall within your home, please stop by the front desk at Synergy Family Therapy Specialists or talk with your occupational therapist on ways to use this curriculum within your home!