In the unexpected situation we are, families will spend more time together than usual, while still having to do it all.
When a child feels like they have something practical and meaningful to do with the family, they are often more willing to focus on their own activity, allowing you to focus on yours.
But, when our children get restless, pick fights and cannot seem to calm themselves, it is important to help them go back to a more peaceful place. The calm down spot (=peace corner) is perfect for that, rather easy to implement and can make such a big difference for your children.
What is it?
A Calm Down Spot is a space in your home where a child can safely and consistently go to when they have big emotions from frustration and sadness or to spun out happy, wiggly, crazy emotions!
Example: refrigerator box that you decorate and paint together, a teepee, a pillow in the corner behind a couch, etc.. (It usually isn’t in the child’s room)
What the calm down spot could contain:
- Headphones with some music, rock, calm, dance…
- Paper to tear or crumple and a basket to put it in
- Something to blow on (like a pinwheel)
- Rubik’s Cube
- Stuffed Animals
- Calm Down Jar (a clear bottle with water and two tubes of glitter glue. with the top hot glued on!!!)
- A card with different emotions on it to help children articulate some of the feelings they are having.
- A weighted pillow, stuffy or blanket
How to implement it:
Introduce the calm down spot at a neutral time. (It should not be in the middle of a tantrum. However it could be after a child has calmed down when you are having a conversation about how you could find a way together to help with their big emotions. Make sure both of you are in a brain-space you can take in new information(not hungry, tired, feeling threatened or in the middle of having strong emotions).
Teaching children how to center themselves after an intense emotional outburst can begin at birth, and can benefit the whole family. We all calm down when taking deep breaths, moving our body, or listening to music that soothes us.
Very important final note
This is not time-out. It cannot be used as a “nice time out” or used in a negative way. It will lose its effectiveness. It has to be a place the child chooses to go to, and has things that are appealing to the child to use. When we, the parent, feel like we are about to lose our patience with our children, it is a great time to model using the calm down spot. “Oh my, I am feeling so frustrated! I am going to the calm down spot right now!” Then stomp your way to the spot, feel free to yell into a pillow, shake a calm down jar, start taking calming breaths.Then articulate how you feel in your body.