How to create a calm down corner and why it is an effective way to calm down a child who needs a little help regulating some big emotions in a safe space and cozy corner.
Children experience big feelings and strong emotions, and sometimes those emotions are hard to control.
They can be difficult for adults to control, so imagine being a child and learning all these new skills on a daily basis.
Controlling emotions is not an easy task for anyone, so sometimes it’s not a bad idea to provide a gentle helping hand such as a calming corner with sensory activities to teach children how to self-regulate and handle these emotions.
You can help your child combat some of these big feelings by providing them space where they can remain calm and not get overstimulated.
This calm corner space should be comfortable and calming so children can feel relaxed and can calm their minds and bodies as well as process some of the big feelings they could be feeling.
Here are some ways you can make your own calm down corner so your child has some healthy ways to express their emotions and calm down their nervous system.
See also: 26 Mom And Toddler Activities To Try Today At Home
How To Create A Calm Down Corner
A calm-down corner doesn’t have to be a “corner” but rather a safe space your child can retreat to when they are in need to calm down and take deep breaths.
Different homes will have different calming corner must-haves but here are some of the common components of a great calm down corner space.
Comfort: The first things your corner needs are comfort items. A soft and comfortable pillow or stuffed animal can provide your child with a comfortable place to sit or a furry friend to hug. You can use pillows, cushions, blankets, and other soft cuddly items to make your space cozy and inviting.
Calming: You can create a calm down glitter jar sensory bottle or a lava lamp for your child to gaze calmly into.
Engaging: Add some books and toy cars to your calm down kit to ensure that space has something that can engage their mind and help further clarify the mind for their social-emotional learning.
See also: The Simple & Easy Way To Stop Toddler Hitting!
Choose A Calm Location
When considering where to place your calm down corner you should choose a low traffic area that has enough space for the things you want to provide for your child when they need to calm down.
This needs to be positive place with room for a soft mat and some activities such as small puzzles and favorite books.
See also: 10 Important Breathing Exercises For Kids To Manage Anger
Simple bean bags or cushions will do if you’re low on space in your calm down area. You can add a comfortable chair, a shaggy rug, throw pillows, or even a small table if you have space.
You’ll want to ensure that the designated space promotes healthy behavior solutions so a few posters and feelings chart are a must-have in your quiet place where kids process emotions. Here are some great ones you can snag for a great price on Amazon.
Don’t Forget The Calm Down Tools
There are so many different items you can place in your peace corner, and each calm down corner will be different.
Here are some suggestions for calm down tools you can use in your corner:
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Calm down cards
- Squishy Balls
- Fidget Spinners
- Stress Balls
- Glitter Jars
- Sensory Bins
- Bucket of books
- Poster of breathing techniques
Talk To Child About Calm Down Corner Rules And Expectations
Talk to your child about what you expect to happen in the calm down corner. When children are young, you’ll want to sit with them in their calm space, but when they are older than can hang out in there by themselves while they calm down.
Lay out your rules clearly so they know that dumping sensory bins on the floor is not appropriate behavior, and drawing on the walls is also a big no no.
A lot of that kind of behavior can be prevented by having a parent present during the calm down moment, but if it’s not possible or if the child is old enough, simply explain your expectations.
See also: 9 Easy Steps To Make A Magical Christmas Eve Box For Baby
Why Is A Calm Down Corner Important
There are many reasons why every home should have a calm down corner but the most important one is that children do not misbehave and explode with big emotions because they want to like it’s the cool thing to do.
Not at all.
Children have trouble understanding their feelings and do not know how to regulate their emotions until later in life. Actually, some adults do not possess the power to regulate their emotions, because it is HARD, and expecting little minds to grasp the concept is a little nuts.
You can create a great teaching moment when you provide your child the space they need to process their feelings when they are experiencing symptoms of distress.
The entire purpose of the calm down corner is to get out of the angry quick reaction phase and engage the thinking part of the brain.
See also: 5 Ways To Support Your Child Through Their Post Holiday Meltdowns
Builds emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence takes some time to learn. It is the ability to recognize how we feel and how others feel, which leads us into our next behavior decision.
During the toddler years, children learn about basic feelings such as sad, mad, happy, tired, etc. Later in life, we learn about more complex feelings as we experience them.
Explains That Unpleasant Emotions Are Real And Normal Too
As adults, we understand that people experience feelings and react to different situations in unique ways.
However, children do not know what is normal, what is not normal and what they are “supposed to feel.”
Routines and structure are the keys to successful child rearing and when children have consistent and predictable ways of handling big notions, they get that structure that they need.
Setting up an area in your home for learning how to handle big emotions is a great way to let your child know that this is where we calm down and think about our experiences.
One of the biggest lessons that children learn from a calm down corner is that everyone makes mistakes.
Yes mom and dad aren’t perfect, they make mistakes and it’s okay! We learn and we grow and we get better.
You can explain to your child that making a mistake can make you feel like you failed, but it doesn’t not mean that you are a bad person in general.
See also: 7 Amazing Benefits Of Hugging Your Children
When To Use A Calm Down Corner
There are many opportunities to use a calm down corner in your home, and as an effective tool to learn that emotional regulation, it should be used when children are experiencing big feelings.
As an alternative to time out
Time out is a tool that I personally don’t promote as it is not a positive parentingtool, but when time out’s do not work in your home, a calm down corner is a good solution.
Children misbehave when they are overstimulated and cannot process the feelings they feel. Going to a calm down corner is not a punishment for your child, it is a space where they can feel safe and secure and learn to deal with the emotions they are feeling.
It is not punishment at all, it is a happy place of peace and calm.
During an Episode of anger
Whether your child is angry or extremely sad, a calm down corner is a great place to direct them
Have you ever tried to explain to a crying child anything at all? It’s like talking to a brick wall. Nothing is getting through.
At this point, the child is out of control and and needs to come back to reality before they will be able to absorb any lessons that you have to teach them.
If you feel your child is on the edge of anger or extreme sadness, encourage them to go to the calm down corner before the explosive feelings happen.
If your child has already hit the anger point, you’ll have to help your child calm down before leading them into the calm down corner. They need to understand this is not a place for punishment, and throwing an angry child into the calm down corner will have a negative effect.
If my child is having some strong feelings, I often have to look into his eyes and breathe with him until he calms down. This works for both of my children really well. And there is a certain power in a hug after they have returned to a calm state of mind.
After my kids do calm down, I lead them to their calm down corner where they can remain calm and have some time to process the situation they just went through.
You can stay with your child and talk to them while they process these feelings, or you can leave them alone to play with the calm items you have provided.
The great thing about using the calm down corner is the fact that you don’t feel guilty about any sort of “bad parenting” practices such as yelling or spanking (which I totally am guilty of doing, but and I hate that these moments happen… but I am human and I make mistakes.)
See also: 6 Things You Can Do To Teach Your Child Self-Regulation Skills
This is not a reward for bad behavior
As I’ve mentioned previously, children cannot regulate their emotions and therefore “bad behavior” is simply a way of communication that isn’t being expressed correctly.
There are so many benefits of a calm down corner and simple fidget toys and a safe spot can calm a child who has experienced too much excitement down very quickly. This kind of soothing spot is great for supporting the mental health of your kids.
What we are teaching here are coping skills, emotional regulation and appropriate reaction.
You simply cannot punish a child for not knowing how to handle emotions.
Do you punish yourself when you explode at your children, or your boss, or your husband?
Maybe a little, but you know better, and you know how you should have acted.
Children don’t understand “appropriate” behavior, which is why it is our job as parents to teach them.
This is not the “easy way out” and “raising soft kids” solution.
This is teaching children how to understand their emotions now so that when they are adults they will be better people than some of the adults we encounter in our daily lives today.
With a little love and care, you can raise kind human who can make a positive difference in the future.
Calm down corners are a safe place for kids to go when they are having a hard time. These calming spaces can be a great addition to any classroom or home and can help children learn different ways to manage their emotions. Calm down corners can be equipped with sensory items such as a bean bag chair, a drink of water, cotton balls, plush toys, and other items that can help create a peaceful and calming atmosphere.
The Calm Down Corner Kit is a useful tool that can include deep breathing exercises, a reflection sheet, and other strategies for students to use. Providing a calm down spot for kids can be one of the best efforts parents and teachers can make to help children cope with stress and anxiety. It’s a good idea to set a time limit for using the calm down corner, but it’s also important to allow children to stay there for as long as they need.
One of the biggest reasons kids benefit from calm down corners is that they build self-confidence. When children are able to manage their emotions, they feel more in control and less overwhelmed. According to licensed clinical social worker Allie Finkel, a calm down box or a calm down choice can be a helpful tool in teaching kids how to manage their emotions.
For kids who have sensory processing disorder, calm down corners can be especially beneficial. When kids feel overwhelmed, they may clench their jaw, make tight fists, or feel like they need to escape. A calm down corner provides a perfect calm for kids to decompress.
The biggest benefits of calm down corners are the skills kids learn. In similar situations, they can use these important skills to manage their emotions and stay calm. Children learn valuable skills that they can use for a lifetime, and these skills are especially important after months of social distancing, where everyone’s “caveman impulses” may have gotten the best of them. Calm down corners are not a form of punishment, but rather a first step in teaching children how to manage their emotions.
The most important thing is to make the space a peaceful and quiet place where kids can feel safe and relaxed. With the rise of technology, there are also digital calm down corners available, so consider what works best for your own child. Regardless of the approach, the goal is to provide children with a place to go when they need to calm down, and to help them develop important skills for managing stress and anxiety.