We send these kids to.... school. Places with lots of people and social expectations. Places that are busy, noisy, bright and distracting. Places where we are asking them to learn things that are HARD!
Is it any wonder that sometimes kids find it overwhelming. For some kids this means going inside themselves and shutting down learning. For some kids it means going walkabout around the classroom at inconvenient times. For other kids it may mean a meltdown of one kind or another.
What these kids need is a way to let their teacher or teachers aide know that they are struggling before they get to the point of no return. What the adults need is a way to help the kid quickly and effectively get back in a good space for learning.
The aim of the "I need a break card" is simple. The child exchanges the card at the time they need a break and in return is able to participate in an activity that is calming for a set period of time. Examples of breaks may be things such as going to the reading corner, getting a drink, delivering a message. I like to give options while also setting firm boundaries for acceptable activities such as the example below.
- Ensure that the "I need a break card" is easily accessible.
- At times you think the child might need a break, .prompt them to exchange the card and take the break.
- When the child starts to use the card give them the break (even if you don't think they need a break remember they are learning the exchange).
- If they start overusing the card (and many children will initially). Give them a set number of cards that they can exchange. To begin with give them slightly more than you think that they need and then begin to cut it down until you get to the optimal amount.
Have you used a "i need a break card"? Are there different ways to communicate the need for a break in a family situation? Let me know in the comments section.