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Behavior: do you teach kids HOW to self-regulate?

Date: November 10th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Time out guys, time out is actually a proactive thing. Time out is really something we should be teaching kids how to use. I have in my classroom what I call the vacation station. I love the vacation station because it’s a little place where kids go, right from little kids up to high school.

In that vacation station I tell them to take a moment. Or I give them a round trip ticket, I have little laminated tickets I make and they’re round trip tickets. Some kids I’d like to give a one way but that’s another story. [laughs]

The system tells me I can’t do that so I give them a round trip ticket. They take that ticket to the vacation station. In the vacation station there is a little monitor for them to be able to look and see where their body is right now and why they might have been given a ticket to go to vacation, because they are in the yellow zone. They’re bordering into the red, they got to pull it together.

Then they have little tools, like strategies. If you identified that you’re in the yellow zone, here’s some strategies you can use. We start teaching that to kids at a really young age, from tangible types of things, to books, to thought process, to music, whatever it might be, so they can learn to self regulate their behavior.

Then I will go back over and I will say, “Hey, round trip,” and the child will get out of the vacation station and come back and join us.

I don’t want that however to be something that becomes punitive. Sometimes those types of things that we put in our classroom can become punitive really quickly.

We’ll say, “Take a minute,” or “Take time,” or “Go take a break.” The kid’s like, “Yikes! I’m in the break chair.”

To me that’s not a break. To me that’s become a little bit more punishing if you will. Let’s be a little more proactive, especially with little kids. They got to be able to figure it out. We’ve got to teach them, so give them those techniques. Don’t use time out as something that’s really reactive.