Children’s Activity: Regulation Flash Cards

Regulation Flash Cards

If you have followed our article and podcast about self-regulation (if you missed it find it here) then you will know we have been talking about developing children’s emotional literacy, their ability to recognise and respond to their emotions. As part of this, supporting children to know which strategies they can use when they feel overwhelmed develops their emotional tool kit.

Why is self-regulation so important?

Self-regulation means that as a child (and later as an adult) we can:

  • Recognise our emotions
  • Respond to them and calm ourselves
  • To resist highly emotional overwhelming responses to triggers
  • To be able to control emotions or redirect them to positive actions
  • To be able to adjust to changes in situations
  • To be able to manage unpredictability
  • It develops our resilience
  • It increases confidence
  • It increases self-esteem
  • It helps us focus on goals and targets
  • It helps us manage failure constructively

Regulation Flash Cards

For some children, when their body activates the fight-flight response, they can struggle to communicate their needs. This can make it difficult for adults to connect with them, as they are making guesses about what would help.

Regulation Flash Cards are prompts which children can use to help them communicate their needs to adults. They are simple, easy and effective if used consistently and supported appropriately. In early years or education settings, you may choose to blow the images up to place them in areas of your setting to support children as a visual prompt. For children with vision boards or key bands, you may laminate them and add to their activity choices.

Download here

Next Steps:

  1. Download your Regulation Down Flash Cards here
  2. Print onto card
  3. Cut out
  4. Talk through each card with children and identify any resources you need
  5. Choose where cards will be stored
  6. Initially, support children to use the cards when they are overwhelmed through prompting
  7. When children use cards independently, praise.


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Further help 

For more articles about mental health visit – HERE 

To learn more about child and adolescent mental health visit – HERE

For resources to support child and adolescent mental health visit – HERE


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