Safe Spaces and De-Escalation Places

This past year I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of teachers in New Delhi India at the Shri Ram Schools. One of the questions I got during my presentation is – how to give kids time outs without it being a punishment. It’s a great question. Ideally – time outs should not be punishment. The problem is people use them as punishments.

So let me clarify – time outs are not punishment – they are an opportunity to calm down and collect yourself so that you can respond rationally to whatever was stressing you.  They are a safe space in which you can de-escalate your emotions so you don’t behave badly and so that you can calm down and make better more rational decisions on how to proceed.

We all have moments where we get upset. That’s ok. That’s normal. What is not ok is taking out your anxiety and fears on other people. So, the challenge is – how to make space for those emotions, while teaching kids how to not “lash out” as a result of those emotions.

I came across this video from Edutopia that discusses the use of de-escalation spaces for students as a way to help teach them coping strategies that don’t involve – lashing out. Feel free to share this.

For more information about Shri Ram Schools – check out their website:

The person who organized my talk was my friend Mukund Trivedy who has been organizing Happy Workplace Conclaves to help reduce bullying and bad management in the workplace. Details on his company and work here: