Take a Break Box
In Aly’s kindergarten classroom this year, her teacher has a “Take a Break” box. This box is sitting on a desk that is a bit removed from the main flow of the classroom, and its purpose is to be a safe place that kids can go, whenever they want, to just take a break. Maybe they feel overwhelmed by the work, or are on sensory overload/underload, or maybe they just are feeling annoyed by a classmate. They can go there whenever they need to and it is absolutely not a punishment. Aly loved the idea of it, but so far hasn’t taken advantage of it (my guess is that she’s too nervous to- ha!). Anyway, we decided to develop one at home too.
The purpose of our box is a bit different. When the kids feel their temperature rising or just are grumpy and need some space, they can get the “take a break” box and use what’s inside to help them both recognize what’s going on inside of them as well as get control of their emotions before they hurt someone with their words or actions. With 4 small people and 2 big people in one fairly small space, it’s easy to get on one another’s nerves :).
In our box, we have:
1. A stress ball
2. Some squishy balls that look like animals
3. A mindfulness jar (that was actually originally a science experiment)
4. This really cute emotions chart, cards, and “I Feel” page that are all free printables from Simply Sprout
5. A box of crayons and a pad of paper
6. A pack of gum
7. A puppet
8. A jar of playdoh
When gathering things for our “Take a Break” box, I was trying to think of some things that were both sensory (as we have a sensory seeker here who is often calmed by an increase in sensory input), as well as things that would help them to creatively express their emotions.
This box that has been used everyday since I made it, and it’s been REALLY good for the girls in particular. Their favorite part is the “I Feel” page. They draw the appropriate face and then label the feeling (which is always either “frustrated”, “mad”, or “sad”). Today Aly started out with those feelings, but then by the end she was writing “I am happy” on the pad of paper. She said writing about her feelings helped her feel better. I think we might have a journaler on our hands! 🙂
Anyway, it’s been a great resource for us to have to give our kids space to safely and healthfully slow down, recognize their emotions, and then deflate before they get out of control. Most of these items you have laying around the house, or you can very cheaply create.
I was thinking that maybe I needed to make a parent version next…. 🙂 What should we put inside that one? 😉