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DIY Calm Down Corner for Your Child

Posted by Children Story Time admin, 9 minutes read

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A calm down corner is a place of quiet for your child to recharge after an eventful day or restless period. Calm down corners are easy to make, and your child can help you by filling a designated space with activities and items that promote peacefulness and calm.


In this article, you will learn what a calm down corner is, how it can help your child, how to make one for your child, and the kinds of objects you can include in your calm down corner.


What Is a Calm Down Corner?

A calm down corner is a specific area of the home set aside for the sole purpose of allowing your child to settle down if their emotions are out of control. Sometimes throwing a tantrum or emotional breakdowns in a child are signs that he or she may be overstimulated and needs to take a break.

The calm down corner, filled with familiar objects, can help your child recenter his or her emotions. Calm down corners are unique to each child depending on their needs and what comforts them. Some corners can be equipped with their favorite stuffed animals, books to read, or simple art materials to create with. 

Calm down corners should be in a place where there is quiet – not near entrances to the house or bathrooms. The goal is to encourage peace. Soft colors such as pastels and soft lighting will also help invoke a sense of calm for your child.


What Does a Calm Down Corner Do for My Child?

Since children, especially toddlers, do not have the ability to control their emotions, they are apt to throw tantrums or have meltdowns if they are overwhelmed by their feelings. A calm down corner is a safe place for your child to regain a balance of emotions when they are feeling overwhelmed. 

Calm down corners help make your child aware of their feelings and eventually they can identify when their emotions are getting out of control. This helps them understand how to regulate their emotions and prevent future breakdowns. 


Using a calm down corner can teach your child to mitigate compulsive behaviors and by regaining control of themselves, they become more self-confident. A calm down corner encourages consistency and structure which are extremely important for a child’s development. 

By checking in with your child and referring him or her to the calm down corner when he or she is feeling overstimulated, your child will learn to recognize and tell you when he or she needs a break. This is a great way for your child to build effective communication skills. 

Children with problems processing sensory stimuli, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or autism can especially benefit from a calm down corner. These conditions only heighten the normal overstimulation and lack of emotional control all children experience. The calm down corner can help engage these children in a way that caters to their specific needs and emotions.


How Can I Make A Calm Down Corner?

The first step to making a calm down corner is asking your child what ideas he or she may have for the space. Since this tool is meant for your child, it’s important to factor in your child’s input and opinions about what should go in the calm down corner, provided they are appropriate for the purpose of the space. 

Select a spot in your house that is away from the main activity of daily life. A designated corner of your child’s bedroom or a tucked away cubby hole under the stairs might be good places to start. Once you choose the right area, decorate it with soft colors and lights to encourage calm and peace. 


Loud colors and harsh lighting can add to a child’s overstimulation and defeat the purpose of a calm down corner. Depending on your child’s needs, music, such as soft classical, may be an appropriate addition or soothing sounds like white noise or rain. Smell is another important sense that can factor greatly into the regulation of emotions and restabilizing from overwhelming stimuli. Consider adding an essential oil diffuser with accents like lavender or chamomile for added tranquility.


What Kinds of Objects Should I Put in the Calm Down Corner?

No two calm down corners are the same because no two children are the same. Customize your calm down corner to incorporate your child’s specific needs and interests. Some ideas of items to include in your calm down corner are places to sit such as bean bag chairs or lots of soft cuddly pillows. Pillows can act as cushions or double as items for your child to hug if he or she needs comfort. Your child’s favorite stuffed animals will also serve as physical forms of safety in the calm down corner. Some children may need visual aids to recenter their emotions. Glitter jars, lava lamps, and kaleidoscopes are perfect tools to engage your child while providing a low energy input activity so as not to overwhelm him or her. Other children are very tactile in nature and need to touch things and use their hands to find peace. There are a variety of objects to satisfy those needs while promoting calmness such as stress balls, kinetic sand, fidget toys, and bubble wrap. 


For the more creative child, include some simple art materials (that won’t make a big mess) such as foam cutouts, stickers, or simply colored pencils and paper. For older children, a journal with perhaps a few simple writing prompts is appropriate. These will allow your child to express their emotions in a healthy way and let them calm down naturally. Simple breathing exercises displayed as a poster on the wall or in a deck of cards your child can flip through as also helpful tools to add to the calm down corner. These will promote appropriate responses to heightened emotions and aid your child’s ability to gain control of how his or her feelings affect his or her behavior. Some children may benefit from simple puzzles or board games in their calm down corner. Be careful when choosing an activity like this however because these may add more stress to your child. Additionally, some games may encourage rowdiness that will defeat the purpose of the calm down corner. 


Assess the nature of your child’s need for a calm down corner and whether or not a game or puzzle may promote competitive impulses or mental strain before deciding to add these to your calm down corner. 

No matter what you choose to add to the calm down corner, make sure it is a space your child can enjoy, relax, and regain control over their emotions.


When Should I Put A Child In The Calm Down Corner?

Knowing how to put together a calm down corner is only half the battle. You also have to know when it is a good idea to put a child in the calm down corner. The calm down corner is a good place to send your child whenever they are feeling overwhelmed.


When The Child Is Throwing A Tantrum

Kids throw tantrums for all sorts of reasons, but it’s usually because they are upset and overwhelmed. They might display their anger by charging at you or running away from you. It is always best to acknowledge your child’s feelings when they are throwing a tantrum. Then, lead them to the calm down corner so you can discuss their feelings with them.


When The Child Is Being Aggressive

When your child is behaving aggressively, they need to sit in the calm-down corner. Of course, if they are behaving aggressively, it will not be easy to get them into the calm down corner. If they are behaving aggressively, you can use gentle restraining techniques if they are attacking you. Do not do this if they are not physically hitting you, kicking you, or throwing things at you. You can also use a gentle restraint if they are damaging furniture, toys, electronics, or other household items.


When The Child Is Fighting With Other Children

If your child is fighting with other children they need to go to the calm down corner. If they are fighting with others, whether it be playmates or their other siblings, you need to deescalate the situation and talk to them to find out what happened. If you have multiple children it can be a good idea to have two calm down corners set up just in case they start fighting. Hopefully your children get along with any playmates who come over but if they do start fighting you can create a makeshift calm down corner in another room. Once you get them into the calm down corner you want to talk with them and understand what happened with the fight. Learn how it started and why it happened. You need to consider the possibility that maybe your child was provoked.


Of course, if your child overreacted and was the one to provoke the fight, you need to discuss this with them too. You need to discuss how their reaction was harmful and how they can make better choices in the future.


When The Child Is Being Too Silly

Of course, angry temper tantrums are not the only reason why you might have to send your child to the calm down corner. Sometimes your child might be acting silly or excited. This could maybe be from a sugar rush, excitement over a birthday, or simply having too much fun. When this happens, you need to use different techniques to calm your child than you would if they were behaving angrily or violently. If they are being too silly they simply need to have a spot to sit and collect themselves for a few minutes until they are calm.


When The Child Needs A Break From Using Electronics

Electronic devices run our daily lives nowadays. It is likely that your children have at least one electronic device of their own. This is healthy in moderation but if you feel like your child is getting too much screen time, it can be a good idea to take them to the calm down corner.  When they get there, this would be a good time to engage in a different activity with them. This could be something like reading or discussing their day with them. 


When The Child Is Not Listening To You

As a parent it can be hard to know how to handle your child when they are being disrespectful. If your child is not listening to you however, you need to teach them the importance of communicating their emotions and following directions you give them.  If your child is not listening to you, you should gently lead them to the calm down corner, then sit down and talk with them. Make sure they understand that they have to listen to you as their parents and that it is important to communicate their emotions instead of disobeying.


When The Child Is Overstimulated, Upset, or Mad

Sometimes kids do not throw tantrums because they are angry or afraid. Sometimes they are just overstimulated or feeling negative emotions that they do not know how to express. When this is happening, it is a good idea to gently lead them away into the calm down corner.  Having this break from the stimulus that was making them upset or overstimulated will help calm them back down again. Soon, they will be ready to rejoin the activities they were doing before.


Final Thoughts

A calm down corner is a wonderful tool for children to use to help them regain control of their emotions if they are feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated. It can include such items as their favorite teddy bears, coloring materials, or sensory activities like bubble wrap and glitter jars. Calm down corners should be customized to a child’s individual needs to have full effectiveness. Ultimately, a calm down corner will help your child discover how to regulate their emotions, communicate effectively, and boost their self-esteem.


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