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In our program we have a special place where kids can go to "Take-A-Break." This is a special quiet area where kids know they can go to get away, calm down, and get back in control. Sometimes children choose to use the break area on their own. Sometimes I will ask a child to "Take-A-Break" if they are having difficulty maintaining their self-control. 

It is important that the children understand the "rules" for taking a break and that they know what it looks like to "Take-A-Break." We discuss it as a class frequently and I model it for the children. Then I let them model it for me. We write down some thoughts on chart paper about what it means to take a break. For example, we are quiet, resting, thinking, and not bothering others, and others don't bother us.

The children understand that this is NOT A PUNISHMENT. But instead a chance for them to cool down and try again. I try very hard to keep the "Take-A-Break" area positive and not to let it become a way to "control" children's behavior but rather it becomes a tool for them to learn to regulate their own self-control.

We have a soft chair for the "Take-A-Break" spot. "Be Calm Bunny" stays here so children can hold him and pet him and his job is to help them calm down. There are some squishy balls to squeeze, and you can add other "calming" things if you wish.

"Take-A-Break"  is really an alternative to "Time Out"  as a punishment. It really is a way for children to learn self control and to release teachers and parents from entering into power struggles with children. We have had a lot of success with this in our classroom.

This strategy is a part of the Responsive Classroom approach. Learn more about it at .

Download a copy of our Take-A-Break cue chart we post next to the Take-A-Break spot.





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