Do you ever have a time when you feel stressed or upset, but don’t have the right word to describe how you’re feeling? We do, and so do our kids! When we have difficulty expressing ourselves, visualization can help us describe exactly how we are feeling.
When a child is unfocused or "uncooperative" during a group activity, or at home, it's easy to write off their experience as simply causing trouble. As leaders, it's important for us to remember that no child's experience can be classified as simply "acting out."
At GLAD House, we use age-appropriate, interactive tools to help our kids identify their emotions, and the best way they can manage their stressor.
When a child starts to feel overwhelmed during group and doesn't know how to communicate what they need, they can use the zones of regulation. Emotions have so much variety! If the child seems agitated, are they frustrated, or nervous? If they seem lethargic, are they bored, or just sleepy? A child’s specific emotion is going to affect how they react to intervention techniques.
Every emotion has a great way to respond. Once the child identifies how they are feeling on the color chart, they can choose a calming down tool from the list on the right.
Involving the kids in their own action plan not only helps them feel better faster, but also makes them feel empowered about their own lives!
Here's a list of our Zones:
Green Zone: Go time!
Feelings: Calm, Focused, Relaxed, Happy
Actions: You are active and ready to go!
Tools: Actively listen to your group leaders and peers, Complete your work, Remember your daily goals, help and encourage others, earn all your bucks.
Blue Zone: Rest stop
Feelings: Sad, Sleepy, Bored, Confused
Actions: You act slower than normal and aren’t aware of your surroundings.
Tools: Take a break, get a drink of water, Talk to a trusted adult or friend, Do hand presses, chair push-ups, and wall presses, Ask questions
Yellow Zone: Slow Down
Feelings: Annoyed, Frustrated, Nervous, Stressed
Actions: You’re worried because something is bothering you.
Tools: Take a break, Talk to the group leader, Take five deep breaths, Squeeze a stress ball, Ask for a vacation (a break from group)
Red Zone: STOP
Feelings: Mad, Frustrated, Unkind, Disrespectful
Actions: Something happened that upset you and made you feel mad.
Tools: Take a break, talk to a group leader or trusted adult, Ask to go to the calm down area, Take ten deep breaths, Do hand presses, chair push-ups, and wall presses, Use a stress ball.