Using a traffic light toolkit to help kids regulate their emotions

By March 8, 2017Blog, Peppy Talks

Sometimes children need extra help with regulating their emotions. Using a traffic light with different colors is a good way of helping kids categorize unpleasant and pleasant feelings. By visualizing how to move from the red, “bad”, zone to the green, “good”, zone they will be better at noticing and dealing with their emotions later on. Try this week’s “1 minute Peppy Talks” at home or in school!  

Exercise: Draw a traffic light and explain to the kids that the three colors can be used as symbols for knowing when to calm down.

Red is “stop” = stop and calm down.
Yellow = I need to think before I act and…
Green = Now that I’ve calmed down and thought, I will try my best solution

Ask: Can you think of a situation when you feel you need to press the “stop” button? For example, a friend might have teased you that made you really angry.


  • How can you calm down to reach the yellow zone?
  • Once you’ve calmed down, how can you handle the situation? Ex. would you tell a grownup what just happened, start a fight with the person teasing you?
  • What would be the consequences of your action?
  • Once you’ve thought of a good solution, you’re in the green zone. Being in the green zone doesn’t always mean you will get what you want. How does that feel?

Purpose: To practice labelling and handling emotions and self-awareness, and how to calm down

Want to experience more? Put up the traffic light somewhere in the home or at school for everyone to see. It is a good starting pointy when you’re noticing that your child has been in a conflict, doesn’t know how to solve it or needs help calming down. In some cases it might even be a good reminder for you 🙂