Enter the zones: New app teaches emotion regulation

From a young age, children only have one tool to articulate how they feel: crying. Until they advance to words, crying is the only way to express hunger, thirst, joy, sadness, fatigue, anger, fear and disgust. As children grow up, they learn and mimic smiling, laughing, frowning and many more forms of expression. Yet, many students may have trouble controlling and regulating their emotions.

Four zones of emotions

Students at any age have trouble dealing with and expressing their emotions. During the teenage years of development, teens may even experience new emotions and be unsure how to deal with them. During childhood, children may not be able to learn how to process frustration or anger in a productive way.

Zones of regulation is a, “Systematic, cognitive behavior approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones.” Zones of regulations website explains the categories are coordinated by color, including:

  • Red: Describing intense emotions and alertness such as anger, rage, devastation or terror
  • Yellow: Less intense emotions the user has more control over than in the red stage such as — stress, frustration, being nervous, anxiety and excitement.
  • Green: A much calmer state of alertness, such as happy, ready to learn, focused or content
  • Blue: A low state of alertness including feeling sad, sick, bored or tired.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational therapy and a Master of Arts in Education, Leah Kuypers applied her knowledge toward creating the four zones of regulation and applying the knowledge into a fun gaming app for children.

Enter the regulation gaming zone

The website explains how these activities and exercises help students learn emotional regulation, “As they gain a deeper understanding of the impact their behavior has on their relationships.” Too often, video games are stereotyped as mindless and much too graphic for children. To an extent this may be true, but the zones of regulation app is an excellent tool for children to enjoy learning self-regulation tips.

Kuypers and Sterling Selover created a game in which, “Students will be taken on an adventure through a town filled with exciting learning opportunities around Zones concepts, rewards, and mini games.” Students who play in the app are rewarded for completing goals, solving puzzles and advancing in stages similar to a regular game. Kyuper adds, “In this new age of technology where kids love to play mobile games like Minecraft and Angry Birds, we are convinced that educational apps can compete.” This app helps students learn to control their own emotions while also processing and expressing their emotions to others.

White River Academy is a boarding school for troubled boys from ages 12 to 17, struggling with issues at school and interpersonal problems. The academy provides treatment and care for the boys through disciplined guidance, continues a strong education program and instills character values with service projects promoting positive growth. For more information or to register, feel free to call 866-520-0905.

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