Mindfulness is noticing what is happening outside and inside in the present moment. Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned and is useful for regulating strong emotions. Using mindfulness as a family can improve patience, understanding, and self control. Teaching the members of your family to notice strong emotions can allow them to intervene and deescalate themselves with strategies. One strategy that can help is creating a calm down corner in your home.
What is a Calm Down Corner?
A calm down corner is a designated space in your home that promotes relaxation and happiness. Going to a calm down corner when you are experiencing a strong emotion can help you regulate back to a calm and happy state. A calm down corner is designed to be a safe space where a person can go and be undisturbed.
How to Make and Use a Calm Down Corner
To make a calm down corner at home, include all family members in the creation process. First, choose a place in your home that is quiet and peaceful. It should be quiet and semi-private. Avoid spaces with screens and loud sounds. Next, choose items that promote comfort. This may include pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals. Some people like to hang a curtain or tent to create privacy. Then add calming and distracting activities. This may include books, puzzles, or fidgets. These activities should be relaxing and help deescalation. Avoid televisions, iPads, and videogames.
The calm down corner is to be used as a strategy, not a punishment. Using it will need to be modeled and taught to children. Parents should share their feelings of frustration and show the children how to use the corner. For example, you could state, “I am very overwhelmed right now because there are so many things to clean up in the living room. I am going to the calm down corner for 1 minute to relax, so I can work better.” After going to the corner, tell the children, “I feel calmer now and I believe I can clean this space better now.” Children may need prompting to use the calm down corner. Try and intervene when you notice a child is becoming agitated, instead of after they are angry. Remember, this is not a punishment or time out. Instead you can tell them, “ I noticed you are getting upset. Now is a good time to use the calm down corner, so you can come back to this and feel better.”
Remember, the calm down corner is a tool, not a punishment. After the members of your family learn how to use it, it can be a useful tool in regulating emotions. Learning to navigate and control emotions is a skill that can benefit your family for many years to come.