At the beginning of the school year, classrooms talked about their Hopes and Dreams for the school year. From this, they developed rules that will help everyone to achieve their Hopes and Dreams. Naturally, once there are clear classroom rules and expectations, follow up regarding what happens when a child breaks the rules comes next? What we know is that everyone makes mistakes and forgets a rule once in a while and so we want to help children know what to expect when this happens. One thing that classrooms do is implement a positive time-out. We call it “take a break.”
Take a break is a strategy used to help children learn and practice self-control. It is NOT a punishment, but instead a positive strategy giving students a chance to calm down and regain control. Used consistently, and in a nonpunitive way, it can be highly effective in maintaining clear limits for behavior while preserving the child’s dignity.
So don’t be surprised if your child comes home one day and tells you that today he/she needed to take-a-break. Use the opportunity to discuss the reason for taking a break and praise him/her for regaining control and fixing their mistake. The goal is for the student to see the connection between when I am not following the rules, I have the opportunity to calm my body and mind and rejoin the activity or lesson.
Everyone needs to take-a-break once in a while and teaching this strategy when children are young can really help them as they get older. And yes, even adults can take-a-break when they need a moment so feel free to model this at home!