How to Create a Calm Down Corner for Kids
A calm down corner is a great strategy to use if you’re a teacher, caregiver, or parent. It creates a specific place for children to practice the skills they need to self-soothe, regulate emotions, and process feelings in a positive, integrated way.
Why Create a Calm Down Corner
A calm down corner gives children a dedicated space where they can take a break from overwhelming emotions. It is a place to get away, check-in, and reset their system. Knowing there is a place where they can work through difficult feelings can empower children to learn new coping skills.
This designated space allows children to learn to self-regulate, rather than relieve emotions through outbursts or otherwise suppress them (both of which are equally negative, although suppression of emotions is sometimes more socially acceptable).
What Items to Put in a Calm Down Corner
A calm down corner gives children space and tools to help them develop social and emotional skills. The goal is a calming environment combined with toys and activities that foster these skills. Every child is different, so offering a variety of tools and resources is helpful for them to discover their individual soothing strategies.
It’s essential to set the stage in your calm down corner, so it encourages a feeling of security and comfort. Fill the space with props to offer support and guidance for how you want the space to be used.
- Create a space that is easy to find and access when a child needs it.
- It should provide a sense of privacy and peace.
- Have a chair, bean bag, or large pillow so the child can sit comfortably.
- Maybe provide a table so they can work on different activities.
- Provide visual charts on the walls to help children recognize the emotions they are experiencing, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, yoga exercises, and other calming activities.
Items that could bring children to a calmer state when big feelings set in:
These activities help a child identify and process their emotions:
- Have an emotion chart or emotion cards (Zones of Regulation® is an excellent program) to help children identify which emotions they’re experiencing when they enter the space.
- Encourage them check-in at the calm down corner later to see if they feel different. We also love this Time-in Toolkit from Generation Mindful.
- Provide items like a pinwheel, expandable ball, or BE Buddy™ to remind the child to practice deep breathing techniques (read more about deep breathing exercises here).
- For school-age children, provide art and writing supplies so they can express their feelings with words or artwork. This can be an important way for them to process and manage their emotions.
- Move Mindfully® Card Deck-this card deck offers yoga-based movement and mindfulness exercises to empower kids using mind/body tools and coping strategies when tired, anxious or when big feelings set-in. It is thoughtfully organized into groups (breathing, movement, rest, and partner work) and offers clear and concise instructions and tips to help kids cultivate awareness, self-regulation, and soothing strategies.
Learn More Ways to Promote Calm and Reduce Stress
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Thanks for reading,
PS: If you are looking for more resources to help your child build resiliency skills and habits, download the FREE Resiliency Guide for kids today! This printable 32-page guide is a great resource to help your child develop wellness from the inside out!