Think about the last time you got annoyed, frustrated, angry, or upset. What did you do? Where did you go? Chances are, you have a safe space where you can go to to deal with your emotions. Children need this too! A ‘calm space’ doesn’t have to be very big, it can just be a beanbag or a small carpet, but it can work wonders for an upset child.
Why can’t they just go to their rooms?
Children often associate their rooms with other activities like playing, homework, and sleeping. They will not be able to build a strong association between the space and being calm. Having a dedicated ‘calm space’ can provide a physical safe space to work their feelings out.
What should I put in a ‘calm space’?
There is no right way to build a ‘calm space’, but here are some of our favorite things to include.
- 1. Beanbag or pillows for sitting
- 2. Carpet for comfort
- 3. A small bookshelf for reading
- 4. A feelings poster for naming feelings
- 5. Some toys for calming down
How do I use a ‘calm space’?
Your child can use the space whenever they feel calm, not only when they feel negative emotions. You can also use small emotions (like minor frustration or annoyance) as a chance to build the habit of using the space. You can suggest something like ‘how about you take a minute and go to your calm space. I’ll join you when you’re ready’. As they build the habit, they will naturally go to the space whenever they have big emotions. Remember to ask first before joining them in their space.
If space is an issue, try to designate one part of your home for this purpose. You can simply put a sign that says ‘Duo Duo’s Calm Space’ with your child’s name. The idea is to build an association between a physical space and feeling calm so that your child can use it as a coping mechanism when they feel overwhelmed.