You know it’s coming…your child is running out of patience and losing their temper. To save yourself and your child the stress, you’d love to head off a temper tantrum before it happens. And that’s why parents everywhere are creating their own DIY calm down corners in their homes.
Calm down corners are special places you can create in your home for your children to go when their emotions become overwhelming.
Remember when you were younger and you had to take a time-out? Well, think of the calm down corner as a more productive and kind version of the time-out. Instead of the punishment often associated with a time-out, a calm down corner is much more inviting and useful to your child.
And, in time, children come to associate the calm down corner with relaxation. Amazingly, some learn to retreat to it when they feel their emotions begin to bubble over…without your kind reminders.
How to Create a DIY Calm Down Corner for Your Kids
Sold on the idea? Great! Here’s how to create a fully operational calm down corner with household items.
1. Find the Right Location
Since the goal is to remove your child from an overwhelming environment or situation, it makes sense to put the calm down corner in a quiet space. That way, it won’t be in the center of ensuing chaos from siblings or other household activities.
Use a corner in a room that isn’t often used by other children. In fact, a little nook in your child’s room is the perfect place for your kiddo to retreat when things get a little rough.
2. Make Your Calm Down Corner Cozy
Remember, the calm down corner is an inviting area…you could even call it fun! With that being said, you can create a soothing environment made of tiny tents, pillows, blankets, curtains cozy chairs, or even bean bag chairs.
The point is to make it soothing, not stressful. And as your child grows, think about converting calm down corners into learning centers with the use of desks and information your child is interested in.
Here are a few other ideas for what your child might like in their calm down corner:
- Coloring books
- Playdough or Kinetic sand
- Calm down kit (all their favorite activities and soothing toys in a little kit)
- Lava lamps
- Meditation reminders and prompts
- Bubbles for mindful breathing
- Glitter jars (try making one with your child – see DIY videos on Youtube)
- Crafting supplies
- Sound machine (or any device that plays music)
- Lamps with colored or soft light
- Free printable pages for Social Emotional Learning
- Other sensory objects
Your DIY calm down corner can consist of anything around the house that helps your child take a peaceful moment, or five, to themselves.
3. Know How to Talk about the Calm Down Corner
It’s vital that your child doesn’t see the calm down corner as a form of punishment, otherwise, they may only learn to suppress their emotions.
The goal of this special space is to teach your children social-emotional learning skills…and be able to identify moments where they may need to step back and take a deep breath.
With that being said, never use it as a form of punishment or yell by saying “Get in the calm down corner!”
Instead, calmly usher them to the area, and even spend some time with them learning how to use it, because immediate isolation could have the opposite effect. In fact, showing your children how to use the calm down corner before it’s needed is going to have the best outcome.
Be gentle when teaching your children about their new special space, and always reinforce the idea that taking a break is ok. If they’re hesitant, simply remind them that it’s temporary. And as soon as they’re feeling better they can return to what they were doing.