Calm Down Corner Pro Tips for 2023: Create the Ultimate Calming Corner

How to create a clam down corner

How to Create a Calm-Down Corner for Any Environment 

Having young children of our own we know what it is like to try and figure out how to handle big emotions in kids. Have you ever wondered, just like we did, what strategies there were to help kids learn to calm down and effectively control their emotions? We have found with our kids that learning how to create a calm-down corner can be a major tool to help both parent and child control their emotions. 

Creating a calming corner for kids involves setting up a designated space that is comfortable, inviting, and equipped with tools and resources to help them manage their emotions and calm down. Here are 9 Pro Tips to create the ultimate calm down corner for kids

9 Pro Tips To Create the Ultimate Calming Corner

  • Choose a Location
  • Gather Supplies
  • Decorate the Space
  • Personalize the Corner
  • Establish Ground Rules
  • Teach Calming Strategies
  • Reinforce Positive Behavior
  • Monitor and Adjust
  • Encourage Self-Reflection

Remember that creating a calming corner is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It should be tailored to the individual needs and preferences of the child using it. The goal of a calm-down corner is to provide a supportive and safe space for them to manage their emotions and learn valuable coping skills.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Create a Calm-Down Corner

Sensory toys

Choose a Location

Select a quiet, low-traffic area in your home or classroom. It should be easily accessible to the child but also provide some privacy and separation from other activities.

Our calm-down corner in our home is in the corner of our boys’ room.  We placed most of the calming supplies inside an enclosed children’s play tent to help provide privacy and keep the supplies organized.  

Gather Supplies

Collect calming and sensory items such as soft pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, and cozy seating options like bean bags or cushions. Our boys have their comfort items, a stuffed animal named Sleep Dog for our oldest and a small sports blanket for our second boy.

Include sensory tools like stress balls, fidget toys, or sensory bottles filled with glitter and water. You can find all kinds of sensory toy options on Amazon.  Here are some more of our favorites: 

  • Liquid motion bubbler
  • Needle fidget palm board
  • Pop tubes
  • Pop fidget balls

Consider adding books with calming or mindfulness themes, drawing materials, or coloring books and crayons.

We have a Storypod that provides our boys with great stories and music to help them calm down.

One thing we have seen amazing results from is including a craft supply drawer.  Our boys know that everything in that drawer is free game to create whatever craft they want.  This has been an extremely calming activity for them and lets them feel empowered to create whatever they want without getting in trouble for using the family’s bills as craft paper!  Although, that would be nice to have our bills disappear! 

Add soft, calming lighting options like a small table lamp or string lights.

Decorate the Space

Decorate the calm-down area with calming colors and soothing decorations. Consider using colors like blues, greens, and pastels.

You can hang posters with calming messages, nature scenes, or mindfulness quotes on the walls.

Make the space visually appealing and child-friendly. Your child’s input will significantly help with this!

Personalize the Corner

Involve the child in personalizing the space. This is a HUGE point for success with your calm-down corner.  The more your child is involved in creating the calming corner the more they will feel empowered to use it! Positive Parenting Solutions is a great course to help you learn additional tools to help empower your child! Let them choose some of the items, colors, or decorations to make it feel like their special place.

Consider adding a small photo of the child or their family to create a sense of familiarity.

Establish Ground Rules

Set clear rules and expectations for using the calm down corner. Explain that it’s a place to calm down, self-regulate, and regain control of emotions, not a punishment.

Encourage children to use the space when they feel overwhelmed or upset but also teach them when and how to request help from adults if needed.

Teach Calming Strategies

Spend time with the child teaching them different calming techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, counting to ten, or using the sensory items available in the corner.

Hang up posters that have simple images and prompts for your children to remember the calming techniques.  We have a binder with different breathing techniques and ideas we got from an occupational therapist and Pinterest!

Practice these techniques together so that the child feels comfortable using them independently.

Reinforce Positive Behavior

Praise and reward children for using the calm down corner effectively. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to use it as a tool for self-regulation.

This is the ultimate goal!  When your child gets angry and is about to throw one of their crazy tantrums, wouldn’t it be amazing for them to go to their calm down corner on their own rather than getting into a yelling match?! 

It doesn’t work like this every time for us.  We are not perfect and neither are our kids. Sometimes we forget to utilize the calm down corner and end up just escalating each other’s emotions. However, the more we use it, the more natural it becomes for us to suggest the calm down corner instead of yelling. 

Monitor and Adjust

Keep an eye on how the child uses the calming corner and make adjustments as needed. Different children may require different items or strategies.

We add different resources for our kids as their interests and maturity change. They may develop new emotional skills that will help them calm themselves down and we want to incorporate those into the calm down corner.  

For example, when we first created the calm down corner our son wasn’t able to read so we have pictures that would remind him of calming strategies.  As he has gotten older and now loves to read, we have included words with the images and even included books to read!

Encourage Self-Reflection

After a child uses the calming corner, encourage them to reflect on their emotions and what helped them feel better. This can promote self-awareness and emotional growth. 

We love talking with our kids once both parties are calm and can think clearly.  We have had many amazing and relationship-building conversations with our kids during this self-reflection stage! 

Truly it turns into some of the most memorable parenting moments you will have!

What is a Calm-Down Corner?

kid in a clam down corner

A calm-down corner is a place that a child can go to cope with their emotions healthily and give them time to calm themselves down.  This allows both the child and us as the parents or teachers to calm ourselves down!  A calm-down space is just as much for the parent as it is for the child!

If I were a child again,  I definitely wouldn’t want to get disciplined by a parent who is frustrated with a disobedient child.  Our favorite parenting course called Positive Parenting Solutions, teaches that children need to be taught more and and punished less. A calm-down area is a way to help children learn how to properly work through their emotions without resorting to punishment for their actions.

Neither the child nor the parent can think or act in a positive and productive manner when our emotions are out of control.  A calm down corner allows both child and parent/teacher to collect themselves, emotionally regulate, and then afterward have a conversation that allows both parties to be heard and improve!

A calm down corner is a designated, quiet, and safe space typically set up for children, especially in homes and classrooms, to help them manage their big emotions, self-regulate, and find emotional comfort when they are feeling overwhelmed, upset, or anxious. It is a specific area where children can go voluntarily or with guidance to calm themselves down and regain control of their emotions.

Reasons You Need to Know about and Create a Calm-Down Corner

Dad with daughter in calm down corner

Creating a calming corner or a quiet space for kids is important for several reasons:

Emotional Regulation

Children, like adults, experience a wide range of emotions, and they may not always know how to effectively cope with or express these feelings. A calming corner provides a safe and designated space where children can learn to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

Self-Regulation Skills

A calm-down corner encourages the development of self-regulation skills. It teaches children to recognize when they are feeling overwhelmed or upset and gives them tools to calm themselves down independently.

Stress Reduction

The world can be overwhelming for children at times. Having a dedicated space to retreat to can help reduce stress and anxiety. Knowing they have a place where they can go to feel safe and calm can be reassuring. It might not be a bad idea to create a calming corner for yourself as an adult as well, I could definitely use it! 

Conflict Resolution

A calming corner can also be used as a conflict resolution tool. When children have disagreements or conflicts with peers or siblings, they can be encouraged to use their calming space to cool off and reflect before attempting to resolve the issue.

Teaching Coping Strategies

A well-equipped calming corner can include items like soft pillows, weighted blankets, stuffed animals, stress balls, or calming music, which can be used as tools for coping and self-soothing. Children can learn to choose the tools that work best for them when they need to calm down.

Communication Skills

Calm-down corners can also be a place for children to practice expressing their feelings and needs. Encouraging them to communicate what’s bothering them and why can be a valuable skill for emotional intelligence.

Behavioral Management

For parents, caregivers, and educators, calm-down corners can be a helpful tool for managing challenging behaviors. Instead of resorting to punitive measures, children can be directed to the calm-down corner to reflect on their actions and make better choices.

Promoting Independence

As children become more familiar with their calm down corner and the strategies it offers, they can learn to use it independently. This fosters a sense of independence and self-reliance. All every kid wants is to be independent (especially those toddlers)!

Consistency and Routine

Having a designated calm-down space creates consistency and routine in a child’s life. They know where to go when they need to calm down, which can provide a sense of security.

Lifelong Coping Skills

Teaching children how to manage their emotions and cope with stress in a healthy way sets them up for success in adulthood. These skills are valuable throughout life.

A calm-down corner serves as a valuable tool for helping children develop emotional regulation, self-control, and coping skills. It provides a safe and structured space for children to navigate their emotions and learn how to manage them effectively.

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Go Beyond Making a Calm-Down Corner

mom giving hug and kiss to son

As amazing as a calming corner can be, it won’t solve all of your parenting problems.  We have found even more great resources and tools with parenting courses to help deal with kids’ big feelings and emotions.  

A parenting course can give you practical tools to use in the heat of the moment when your kid is exploding and you are trying to hold it together.  To take your calming corner to the next level try a parenting course!  

One of our favorite parenting courses is Positive Parenting Solutions.  We have really come to learn that a child’s behavior is just a symptom of an underlying need not being met.  Learning how to be a better parent helps everyone in the home be happier, especially your little one who sometimes makes you feel like you want to pull your hair out!  

An additional parenting course that would be fabulous for helping children work through their strong emotions is Big Little Feelings. Check it out! This course is full of ways to learn these important parenting skills.

Alternatives to a Calm-Down Corner

boy on a hammock

Calm Down Kits

Instead of dedicating a specific corner, create a portable calm-down kit that children can access when needed. These kits can contain items like stress balls, sensory toys, coloring books, and headphones for calming music or guided meditation. Children can carry these kits with them to their chosen calming spot.

Nature Retreat

Designate an outdoor area, such as a garden or a quiet spot in a park, as a nature retreat. Nature offers a soothing environment, and children can connect with the outdoors to calm down. They can observe birds, practice mindful breathing, or simply enjoy the natural surroundings.

Our boys love going outside to jump on our in-ground trampoline to help calm themselves down.

Sensory Rooms

For schools or larger spaces, consider creating sensory rooms instead of corners. Sensory rooms are designed to provide a range of sensory experiences, including tactile, visual, auditory, and vestibular stimulation. These rooms can be especially helpful for children with sensory processing needs.

Calming Apps and Games

Utilize technology by introducing calming apps and games. There are numerous apps designed to help children manage stress and anxiety through interactive activities, breathing exercises, and mindfulness games. These can be accessible on tablets or smartphones.

Designated Comfort Spaces

Rather than a calming space in a separate corner, establish comfort spaces within existing areas like the classroom or home. These spaces can include comfortable seating, cozy blankets, and a selection of calming activities. Placing them strategically can encourage children to use them when needed without feeling isolated.

Creating a reading nook for your kids can double as a claiming corner and a space to encourage reading and imagination!

Each of these alternatives can be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of children, providing them with effective tools and environments for self-regulation and emotional well-being.

Our Experience with a Calm-Down Corner

silhouette victory stance

The skills our boys are learning from implementing our calm-down corner have greatly impacted our family and improved the peace in our home. These skills and techniques do not create change overnight but over the course of a few months, we have seen a big change in our boys. 

It was exciting to find our oldest son, while on vacation, sitting under a pool table by himself. After approaching him to find out if everything was okay, his response was, “My uncle was making me angry and I needed to come under here to calm down.” Talk about a huge proud parent moment as we could see firsthand how the skills our son has been learning, with the help of a calming corner, are reflecting even outside of our home and while on vacation!

We highly recommend creating a calm-down corner for your children! The skills that can be learned with this tool will impact a lifetime! 

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