Creating a Calm Down Corner At Home
We want to share some tips with you for creating a calm down corner at home. We know we’re not the only ones experiencing a strain in our home because of the last year of COVID Chaos!
A regular day with 2 working parents, 4 kids, a dog and 2 cats our house can be busy at best! Thankfully, we are both Cognitive Behavioural Therapists and make good use of our interventions. Our Calm Closet is an environmental intervention I have found to be a life saver for us! We decided to jump both feet in and make it an entire closet, but you can make a calm corner, or even a calm coping box or tool kit. Adapt it to work for you!
You can watch the vlog about our calm closet or keep reading for a list of items to use in your calm collection and clinical recommendations for how to make it work for you!
Creating A Calm Down Corner At Home
Here are some recommended items to use in your calm collection:
1. Calm Down Kit for Kids
I recommend the Calm Down Corner Bundle tools developed by WholeHearted School Counseling which you can purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers or we will send one to you, on us! Just message us on social media and we will send you a link to download the materials. (We will do this for the first 100 people who send us a message) We want to help you in your quest for everyday happiness!
2. Soothing Items
For kids these can be certain fidget toys, sensory items like water bead items, soft blankets, a stuffy to hug, warm reading socks to put on, essential oils or diffuser.
3. Deep Breathing Reminders or Tools
We use breathing boards (found in the Calm Corner Bundle) and my kids love our expandable sphere ball that they mimic for an expanding breath in and deep breath out
If you want to recommend to your child a time to stay in the calm down area, timers are great so they can watch the sand and know the amount of time that has gone by
5. Journal / Writing Tools
Whether drawing, writing or colouring, it is important to encourage children to process their thoughts and feelings. A feeling / thought journal is great for this, and can be used to help with emotional expression and validation after they calm down
Calming Corner Ideas
A few clinical recommendations to ensure your calm collection works well:
1. Model Behaviour
Model to your children how to best use the calm coping tools you have. Show them to them, talk about times they might have to use these tools, and let them know when and how you will encourage them to use these tools (when you see them begin to get overwhelmed, frustrated, yelling, stomping, crying etc)
2. Share the Goal
Let your children know these tools are to help them feel happy and peaceful. If sending them to a calm corner or closet or area, let them know this is not a punishment this is to help them. You can let them know that punishments or consequences might follow if they don’t calm down and escalate into destructive behaviour (or whatever that scenario looks like for your child) but confirm communication about this (ex. I will remind you of consequences if you start throwing things)
3. Take Part!
Demonstrate you actually using the calm collection tools / area and encourage your children to tell you when you need to use it (respectfully). My children LOVE to helpfully suggest when I might need the calm closet. This helps normalize that everyone has moments of stress, frustration or unpleasant emotion that we need to regulate. It also demonstrates you are serious about using these tools and this isn’t a momentary change, but a designated way you want your household to embrace as a system for emotion regulation
4. Recognize Success
When children achieve a calm and happy state, talk about what led to their unpleasant emotion. Helping them develop emotional expression will provide lifelong benefits to health and mental health. It will also improve your relationship and their bond and connection to you.
I hope these items and suggestions improve your home and happiness. COVID-19 has impacted us all and now more than ever we need to show our children how to regulate difficult emotions.
Stay Calm, Calm Corner On!!