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Calming Corner, Time In Corner Ideas

* A Calming Corner is a small area that you create at home which helps a child have a safe place to be while recovering from big emotions that overwhelm them, or a place to go to when they recognize they need some self regulation.

*When we isolate a child (time out) it does not teach tools for later life; it just teaches them that their feelings are not accepted. Therefore, a Calming Corner is a positive strategy.

*Time-in’s is the process of the caregiver of your little one, helping them through a situation that got “out of hand” and needed you to intervene. You can help your child regulate their emotions by using co-regulation. Getting eye level to your child, talking softly, touching or hugging them all help them to calm down (regulate). Once they are calm they can begin to recognize and process their feelings. When we offer a time-in, we help bridge the understanding of what the child did that was (bad, hurtful, wrong, etc.) to why they did what they did, what motivated the behavior and hew they can cope through their emotion better the next time to make a different, calmer choice.

* First we need to remember that if a child has unmet needs they are more likely to become unregulated. Some unmet needs are: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Sick (HALTS); also they may need connection with an adult, need to release frustration/vent, are bored, etc. You know your child and can recognize, at times, when they are beginning to “loose it”.

* Once you set up the Calming Corner, you will need to show your child how to use it. So when you are annoyed or frustrated, sit in that area and model how to use it. Next, sit with your child and help them find the emotion and the calming strategy; connect and discuss when your child is calm. Remember, that if there was a boundary crossed (I can’t let you hit the baby, It is not time to open the refrigerator for snacks, We are keeping the windows closed for now, etc.), it is still followed, after the calming process.

*Also, encourage your child to use the Calming Corner for happy times as well, it is not just for sad, angry or frustrated moments. We want to recognize and acknowledge any emotion.

*Things to put in your Calming Corner: bubbles, string white lights, sensory toys, puppets (dinosaurs), playdough, music, cuddly toy, stress/squeeze ball/toy, a big pillow or child size/soft chair, posters listing emotions, posters with pictures of faces expressing emotions. For older children, consider a bag of print out/color coping skill ideas (play outside, count to 100, do 50 jumping jacks, write about your emotions, practice a hobby, draw how your feel, take 20 deep breaths. Also, Uno, varied color and word game activity booklets and a Skip-Bo card game.

*You can use a calm down jar:

*Generation Mindful activities are found here:

*Children’s Emotions chart will provide you with many options. For young children, I like:

For older, reading children, I suggest:

*Remember that even as adults, we often do not recognize our own feelings before we get angry or loose our temper, so being patient and understanding as our children learn to navigate the big world they live in is important. And, we will all say things we regret at times, so the most important thing is to apologize and repair the relationship with our child after our inappropriate comment. As we know, children learn by example.


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