Self Regulation Strategies

Topics: Social Emotional Learning, Health and Wellness

Multiple methods. Self-talk, calm-down spots, passes for breaks, and check-ins with a strong, positive adult.
—Katy Kennedy (@ForsythKaty), Washington Middle School, Glendive, Montana

Tapping out. Explicitly teaching kids about mindfulness and using tapping techniques to activate the vagus nerve. One of my dream tools is a relaxation tote with fidgets, sensory items, puzzles, etc., that kids can access when experiencing overwhelming emotions.
—Todd Brist (@WMSPal), Watertown Middle School, Watertown, South Dakota

Create zones. Personal reflection and monitoring. We have used elements of [Leah Kuypers’] Zones of Regulation framework, which contribute to self-regulation. Restorative practices also contribute, as do our intentionally setting up learning environments (calming spaces, flexible seating, sensory responsive stimuli) that invite students to monitor their own learning preferences.
—Paola Torres (@Paola.torres.pereira), Carol Morgan School, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Validate emotions. For staff and students, building sense of self by recognizing emotions and how they show up in the body—normalizing the conversations around emotions and how to validate and voice what you need. We use Zones of Regulation to help with language for students and work to make sure students and staff recognize that “green” isn’t the goal—recognizing and using a strategy to make you feel in control and cope is. This is something we’re building into parent education for our families, and it’s something they’re interested in, as well.
—Jessica Hutchison (@jesshutchisonAW), Avoca West Elementary School, Glenview, Illinois

Rethinking conflicts. Students should learn cognitive reappraisal. For example, if a student gets upset because their friend did not text them back, they could rethink it, as their friend may have been too busy to be able to reply.
—Michael Costa, PS16, Brooklyn, New York

Mindful strategies. We have trained nearly 30 staff members in an 18-hour mindfulness program, changing relationships with colleagues and students. Teachers are using and imparting these strategies with students and also using them to self-regulate.
—Gary Karlson (@garykjr), Aquebogue Elementary School, Riverhead, New York

A full curriculum. Teaching a full social and emotional curriculum. Emotions and feelings are something we all experience. Teaching children how to deal with them is critical. Belly breathing is one of the common techniques we teach to help kids calm down.
—Matt Moyer (@MoyerMatthewD), Rupert Elementary School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Acknowledge moods. Help students acknowledge how they are feeling at the start of a day, lesson, or period. When a student indicates that they are not feeling ready to learn, intervene before there is an incident and help the student adjust to get to a place of “ready to learn.”
—Aqila Malpass (@TeachOnPurpose), Rocky Ridge Elementary School, Hoover, Alabama