Stewart House School

Changing Children's lives since 1931

Telephone02 9938 3822

Regulation strategies

At Stewart House, children experience many teachings and activities surrounding how to better manage their emotions. Some of these include zentangling, mindfulness colouring, short meditations, regular self-reflection, gratitude sessions, sensory play and learning about big emotions.  Emotional regulation forms a major part of our program and therefore students are explicitly taught three evidence-based strategies to use at any stage during their stay. Furthermore, students are encouraged to take learnt strategies back to their mainstream school setting to help them bounce back from setbacks, engage in positive peer interactions and ultimately more positively regulate their emotions.  

These are:






Grounding (also known as ‘Pause’) involves bringing awareness to the bodily senses and current surroundings. Children are able to practice the art of mindfulness by focusing on the sensations of their breath, as well as what they can see, hear and feel in the current moment.





Muscle relaxation


Muscle relaxation (also known as ‘Squeeze’) involves repeatedly tensing, holding and then releasing muscles in the hands. We repeat this technique across all the fingers with each student choosing how much force to apply in their ‘squeeze’. This technique helps children to experience the difference between tension and relaxation in the body and can also be adapted to involve bigger muscle groups.




Slow breathing

Slow breathing



Slow breathing (or ‘5-finger breathing’) involves bringing attention to, and purposely slowing down the breath. Children follow the inhale and exhale of their breath by tracing up and down fingers on one hand. This strategy can help to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, and calm the body and mind.


With repeated use and reinforcement of the above strategies, children begin to recognise their own ability to manage difficult emotions or situations. This inevitably leads to greater resilience and a clearer understanding of healthy mindfulness practices that can be drawn upon in any circumstance.