Taking Time Tool
"I take time in and time away. I use time wisely."
At BMSA, we encourage taking time for big feelings when we notice that we are feeling out of control (red zone). Every classroom encourages recognizing feelings and making calming choices when needed. See the calming choices posted here.We also recognize their are many benefits to taking time in to notice our own experiences. When we kindly and curiously (without judgement) notice our sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts, we practice time-in. Research shows that a regular practice of observing the present moment changes the brain. It allows more focus, less irritability, more empathic behavior. For this reason, many of our classrooms practice regular time-ins.
Encourage the Taking Time Tool at Home
The info-graph below describes what activities are crucial for the brain to work optimally. When we notice which of these our mind needs more of and fit it in our day, we are using the Taking Time tool. As parents, you can help your child’s brain work optimally by making sure they get some of each of these activities every day.
- Sleep time: 6-12 year olds need 9-12 hours of sleep. Individual needs vary. Notice how much sleep your child needs to be his/her best and plan accordingly.
- Physical time: Being active helps flush the brain of toxins and boosts feel good chemicals.
- Focus time: Practicing reading, writing, and math, or learning any new skill requires the brain to practice focusing.
- Connecting time: Time with friends and family stimulates the brain in a unique and essential way.
- Play time: This is time to be create and pretend. NASA has changed it’s hiring practices to seek employees that had a lot of play time as children. When this part of the brain is not exercised, it becomes dormant and people lose their creativity.
- Down time: This is time for the brain to wander with no specific task.
- Time in: Time to reflect inwardly, focusing on sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts. (This can be called “taking time to SIFT.”) Time-ins don’t naturally happen in a child’s day. We practiced this today and you can follow up at home. Your child’s teacher will also be giving time for the students to take time-ins.
This information about how to develop optimal brain matter is detailed in the book, Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. If you’re planning on reading only one parenting book this year, I’d recommend this one.