Have you ever thought about creating a calm down corner for your children to go to when they are angry, sad, frustrated or just need some quiet time to calm down?
Emotional regulation is probably one of the most important skills a child could learn, but it can also be the most challenging one. It’s hard for young children to process big feelings they don’t quite understand yet, and that’s why it’s so important to start talking about the different emotions and giving children strategies to deal with them from a young age. A calm down corner can be so helpful in this process!
So how do you create a calm down corner?
1 – Choose a calm space
Start by choosing a quiet space in your house that your child can retreat to when they’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by a big feeling. A space in their bedroom would be great and you can create a different space for each child too if you like.
I turned an unused corner of my girls’ bedroom into their calm space. At their age (2 and 5) I don’t feel like they need separate spaces yet but I will consider it in the future when they’re older and in their own separate bedrooms.
2 – Add visuals to your calm down corner
A feelings chart or a calm corner sign are perfect to set the intention for that space, and provide useful visuals of the different feelings and/or some of the calming strategies the child can try. I used the signs available in our printable Calm Corner Kit.
3 – Create a Calm Basket
Gather some calming tools and put them in a box or basket to go in your calm down corner. Things like glitter bottles, fidget toys or squishy sensory toys are all great options. You can also have cuddly toys for hugging, puzzles or simple activities available to your child in this area.
Our calm down basket has a DIY sensory glitter bottle (filled with water, glue and glitter) a glitter wand (from kmart), a kaleidoscope, a pop-it fidget toy, and 3 sensory balloons filled with playdough for squishing. I also included our feelings chart and calming strategies cards included in our printable Calm Corner Kit.
4 – Discuss feelings and calming strategies
It’s important that you don’t use the calm corner as a punishment, but as a safe space for your child to learn about their feelings. Always help them identify and name their big feelings. Our feelings chart is great for this and can be used by young toddlers!
Encourage your child to choose one of the tools in their calm down basket or look for strategies they can use to deescalate those big feelings. I included 15 calming strategies cards in our printable Calm Corner Kit so the child can look through them and chose a strategy to try. These include things like taking deep breaths, hugging a soft toy, doing a puzzle, talking to someone, etc.
These calming strategies cards are perfect to have in your calm basket too!
Leave a comment below if you have any questions about our calm down corner or how we use it!
If you’re a teacher or educator you might also like our Emotions Learning Bundle, filled with fun and simple activities to help toddlers and preschoolers learn all about the different feelings.
Don’t forget to tag @mypartydesign on Instagram if you use any of our printables, I would love to see your photos!