Turtle Time - Helping Children Stay Calm

photo by Steven Masters
The turtle technique is a method for calming down when you feel angry, frustrated or upset.  It has been found to be effective for both children and adults. 
Teaching children to use the turtle technique:
  • Use a turtle puppet to help teach children how to use the turtle technique to calm down.
  • Introduce the turtle puppet to the children.  Have the children come up with a name for the turtle.
  • The turtle can bring up an example of a time he got really upset or angry.  Have the turtle ask the children if they have ever felt this way.
  • Then the turtle can explain that he has a special way to calm down when he feels angry, called the turtle technique. 
  • Have the turtle introduce the basic steps of the turtle technique:Recognize that you feel angry. 
    1. Think “Stop” to yourself. 
    2. Go into your “shell”.  Take three deep breaths and think calming thoughts. 
    3. Come out of your shell when calm and ready to think of solutions to the problem.
  • Brainstorm with the children how they could pretend they have a shell to go into to calm down. 
  • Suggest the idea of having a special place in the classroom that is our “shell”, where we can go to calm down.  

Photo by ND Strupler (via Flickr)

Set up a Turtle Time space in the classroom, where children can go to take a break and calm down. Give children opportunities to practice using turtle time through role plays.
When you notice children becoming upset, remind them about turtle time. You can give them the turtle puppet as a reminder and work through the turtle technique steps with them.  


Very cool !

Very cool !

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