Does your child ever get out of control and not know how to calm down? This can sometimes lead them to showing undesirable behavior, such as hitting, yelling, or throwing toys. Having a Calm Down Corner provides a safe and comforting place for a child to go and take some deep breaths.

A Calm Down Corner is a Safe Space

A calm down corner is not a punishment; it’s not timeout. Overtime children may go there on their own when they are upset, before their body gets out of control. To start with, you will have to show your child that it is a soothing, calm place. You can put in pillows, stuffed animals, a prism that catches light, books and more. For older kids it can just be on the couch with a favorite book or toy. Or perhaps they may choose to go to their room for quiet, alone time when they’re upset. One child may want alone time with a book or stuffed animal, while another may want to snuggle with you in the calming space. It is really up to what best meets their needs.

Why Timeouts Don’t Work

Timeouts don’t work as a punishment because there is no relation to what the child did ‘wrong’. It logically doesn’t make sense to a child. If a child throws her brother’s lego creation, but you send her to sit in the timeout chair, what connection does that have? A more logical connection is that the child needs to leave the area and be done with legos for the afternoon.

Here is an opportunity to encourage the child to read a book or snuggle in the calm down corner. The child shouldn’t feel forced to go there, but instead see it as a welcoming space. Make it a beautiful place, perhaps with a canopy or sensory wall. Don’t forget to use every moment as a learning opportunity. Be sure to talk about a better solution after the child ‘cools down’. We need to teach children how to express their emotions appropriately and how they can better handle the situation next time.

Letting Out Big Emotions

Keep in mind that tantrums or meltdowns are normal for all ages. Erin Taylor, a family counselor and the instructor of our online Positive Discipline Class, states that sending a child to their room or timeout just, “Stuffs their emotions down, which is not good for them. Emotions are energy in motion. We need to allow them to get those intense emotions out of their little bodies. When our children have a tantrum it is important to make sure they are safe, first. Then allow them to get that energy out of their bodies.” After is the time to talk about what everyone could work on when a similar scenario comes up again. The child may need to work on keeping their hands to themselves, but the parent may need to work on speaking more calmly. Come up with a solution together!

What to Include in Your Calm Down Corner

Make your Calm Down Corner in a quiet place. Add pillows, a blanket, stuffed animals, sensory objects, fidget toys, and books. Put up a poster or print out showing different feelings, as well as a second visual that illustrates calming techniques (both are included in our online class). When we are upset it is hard to think about what would help us calm down; we often put up a wall. Playdough, a stress ball, or handprints on the wall to push can be helpful to let out tension as well.

Some Calm Down Corners Creation Ideas Are:

Benefits of a Calm Down Corner

The best part of a calm down corner is that kids often want to go and it’s not a fight. Parents you are allowed to take deep breaths in there too! More benefits include:

  • Children learn self-regulation skills before they get out of control.
  • Children have resources and visuals to reference about emotions. If you have a chart about different levels of anger, you may hear them using the language that is illustrated. “I am so mad; I am in the red zone!”
  • The calm down corner can grow with children. You can change out the visuals, toys, comforting items, and even the location of it.
  • After the child has calmed down, it gives the adult a chance to have a rational conversation and turn the previous event into a learning opportunity.

To learn more about positive discipline techniques take our online class for parents and caregivers alike, Positive Discipline for Positive Caregivers. In addition, if you are looking for mindfulness techniques to instill in your family’s household check out our online class, Mindfulness: Raising Self-Aware Children. All nannies who work with Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny are gifted three online nanny trainings to add to their resume and support the family they work with.

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About The Author

Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and works for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny as the eLearning Manager. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her son, going for walks with her husband and dog, and discovering local wineries in New England.