So maybe you have heard of a calming corner but don't know how to make one or use it well. I will show you an example of one and how to use it. A calming corner is a special place in your home or classroom that allows a child to have a special place to retreat to when he/she needs a place to calm down or just take a break from a situation. This is NOT a Time-out corner. This is NOT a punishment and should not be used as such. It's an inviting place a child chooses to go to. When you first introduce it, you may have to accompany a young child and stay with them as they calm down. This is a great step in helping kids learn to self-regulate. Kids often do not have as much freedom as adults in taking a break or leaving a situation. Especially in a classroom, they are not allowed to just get up and walk to the bathroom, they are required to stay in the room, even if they are having a very hard time, they are required to stay. By having a safe place to go, the child can learn to step away and calm down so that the situation doesn't escalate. These are also helpful at home. Even young children can learn to take a break when they need it.
These are the items we had in our calming corner:
- soft pillows or bean bag chair
- soft, familiar blanket
- stuffed animal
- small (age appropriate) fidget toys
- noise canceling headphones
- soft music or headphones with soft music
- chewing toys
- paper and crayons/pencils
- feeling faces (pictures of various emotions)
Depending on the age of your child, you can ask them what they would like to include. You could also place the area near an essential oil diffuser with calming oils diffusing in it.
When you first introduce the calming corner, explain to your child that this is a safe place to go to when they need a break or are upset. Go and sit in it with the child. The next time the child gets upset walk with them to the calming corner, depending on your child, you may need to stay and help them calm down. Be sure not to make this seem like a punishment. You may even need to model going to the calming corner when you become upset. Talk out loud and explain that you are feeling upset and need a break, then go there and take some deep breaths or use some of the tools to calm down. In a classroom be sure that it is available to all children, not just the one or two that you are making it for. Many children may try it out a time or two, but soon only the children that need it will use it. You will probably have other kids use it occasionally, but you will see that they need it when they go there. This could also be a great opportunity for you as the teacher to check in with the child to be sure everything is ok.