“Settle Down Time” – Regulation Object Choice


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Introducing and personalising the blue regulation strategy cog in an Early Years environment.

“Settle Down Time” – Regulation Object Choice

This is an effective regulation idea for introducing and personalising the blue regulation strategies cog in an Early Years environment.

Spend some time observing and identifying objects that each child finds appealing and enjoys holding or interacting with. Collect these items in a blue box with an image or symbol to represent “settle down time” or a similar phrase of your choice. Ensure a variety of items to encourage a calm or positive emotional state. Include soft textures, soothing noises, soft toys, squeezy and fidget toys. (See links for more blue cog box ideas from a list of items our practitioners have used.)

In a group setting, encourage the children to explore the contents of the box. Establish a calm environment: use music or a song to signify “settle down time”, show the picture or symbol, encourage turn taking, limit interruptions or active external discussions, use positive words and body language. Allow children to handle the objects at their own pace. Encourage them to share how the object feels and why they like it. (This may need modelled or supported by practitioners through careful choice of language.) Pay particular attention to children who bond with their object and use this information in wider planning. This is could be recorded in our Connect Profile Documents.


Youngest learners need not be aware of the blue cog concept and can focus on the objects and calm/positive emotions.

For those at the stage of learning about the cog concepts, the blue cog can be a focus for this activity. Draw attention to the blue container, associate the activity with the blue ‘feel better’ cog and talk about how the object they have chosen helps them to calm down, cheer up or something else. Ideas can be recorded on our dry wipe component card or the one cog at at time booklet or on a blue cog display.