If you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced your child having a meltdown at some point in their lives. This is normal, right? However normal it might be in your household, there are tools that can help lessen some of this behavior.

Created by Kari Dunn Buron, the five-point scale is a direct way of teaching emotion regulation. It can be used for essentially any behavior or expectation that the individual may be working on. The child will choose what each level both feels and looks like to them. A one is calm, a three might be “I’m getting irritated” and a five “kicking or punching others”.

However the child labels each level, the key is to have the individual pinpoint when they are at a three and go to a “safe space”. This consists of an area that will allow them an opportunity to calm down.

It is NOT a punishment. The purpose of the space is to be a positive place to gather their emotions and re-emerge once they are calm.

The five-point scale is useful not only for kids but works well with adolescents and even adults. It can be a helpful way to easily identify and communicate how an individual is feeling and what they need.

If you find yourself or your child struggling with emotion regulation, try implementing the five-point scale.

And, if you’re looking to expand your mindfulness practice, check out 25 Ways to Practice Mindfulness to Lower Anxiety & Increase Self-Care.


— Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hannah Gambriel

Hannah Gambriel

Adolescent | MA, LPC

I help adolescent girls and their families, who are hurting, angry, and struggling to find their way through life’s challenges, to create real and lasting change.

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