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Social Stories for Time Out

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Dealing with discipline issues can be challenging for teachers of students with special needs. The social stories in this lesson help you explain time-out to your students in ways that make sense from a child's point of view.

Using Social Stories for Time-Out

Are you a teacher who sometimes uses time-outs in your classroom, or a parent who uses time-outs in your home? While time-outs can be an effective way to remove students from a problematic situation and behavior and give them a chance to reflect and regroup, they can also be really hard for students to understand. Social stories, or anecdotes told from the point of view of an imagined student who shares some things in common with your own student, can help by giving students language and strategies for making sense of a complicated scenario like a time-out. This lesson offers social stories you can use to help students understand the point of a time-out as well as how they should make use of time-outs.

Time-Outs in the Classroom

I love going to my school. At school, we get to play and learn things. We learn reading and math. We play with blocks, and we play games. We sing songs, and sometimes we go outside. School is a great place to learn and grow.

Sometimes, when I am in school, I misbehave. Misbehaving means I do something I am not supposed to do. Maybe it is not safe, or maybe it interrupts my learning or someone else's learning. When I misbehave, it means I broke a rule. When I misbehave, my teacher might give me a time-out.

A time-out is when I have to go sit in a special chair away from the rest of the class. My teacher gives me a time-out so that I can calm myself down. My teacher gives me a time-out so that I can remember the rules of the classroom, and so that I can stay safe and stop interrupting learning.

When I am in time-out, it is my job to calm myself down. I sit in the chair and take deep breaths. Sometimes, I close my eyes and picture a special place, like my favorite corner of my room or the tree in my backyard. Those things help me calm down, and when I am calm, I remember how to behave.

Sometimes, when I have to go to time-out in school, I feel sad, angry, or left out. I do not want to miss what everyone else is doing! I might be angry at my teacher, and I might not want to go to time-out. I say to myself, 'The sooner I go to time-out, the sooner I can join back in.' This helps me remember to listen to my teacher and go to calm myself down.

Time-outs are not usually fun, but they can still help me be calm and focus on learning. After a time-out, I am ready to have a good day.

Time-Outs at Home

At my house, we have rules to follow. The rules are there to keep me safe and to keep the rest of my family safe, too. Usually, I follow the rules. When I follow the rules, I am respectful to my parents and my brother and sister. When I follow the rules, we are all safe and have fun together.

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