A calm down corner is a great strategy to use if you’re a teacher, caregiver, or parent. The calm corner 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 break from overwhelming emotions and center themselves. 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 the tools that help them develop social and emotional skills. The goal is a calming environment combined with toys and activities that foster these skills.
It’s essential to set the stage in your calm down corner, so it encourages a feeling of security and comfort.
- Have the space be easy to find and access when a child needs it.
- It should provide a sense of privacy and peace.
- Have a chair or bean bag so a child can sit comfortably.
- Maybe provide a table so they can work on different activities.
- Provide visual charts on the walls to remind children of skills like Zones of Regulation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and other calming activities.
- Generation Mindful is another excellent resource and offers a Time-in Toolkit to nurture social-emotional skills in children using mindfulness, child-led play, and positive parenting.
Here are a few calming toys and items that will bring children to a calmer state when they’re overwhelmed with energy or emotions:
- Calm down jars or calming glitter tubes
- Weighted lap toys, pillows, or blankets
- BE Buddy®- a multi-sensory breathing buddy
and comforting eye pillow for kids
- Mermaid fabric pillows (like this DIY pillow)
- Colorful slinky toys, fidget toys, etc.
These activities help a child identify and process their emotions:
- Display feelings charts or cards to help children identify which emotions they’re experiencing. They can use these when they first come to the calm down area and then revisit them before leaving to see if they feel different.
- 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 to express their feelings with words or artwork. This can be an important way for them to process and release their emotions.
- Move Mindfully® Card Deck-offering yoga-based movement and mindfulness exercises to empower kids using mind/body tools and coping strategies when tired, anxious, or big feelings set in.
- If you are looking for additional tools and resources for your calming corner, here is a Time-in Tool Kit by Generation Mindful that I love!
Learn More Ways to Promote Calm and Reduce Stress
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Thanks for reading,
Stephanie 🧡 Founder/Owner of Balancing Elephants and creator of the BE Buddy®
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