Creating a calm down corner

A few years ago, I created a calm down corner for my kids in our living room. It was the best thing I ever did. Both of my children have sensory processing sensitivities, and as such they are prone to behavioral disturbances when they are overstimulated or understimulated. I wanted to create a place for them to express their emotions in a constructive and safe manner, so I created their calm down corner.

What is a calm down corner?

A calm down corner is an area that is designated simply for processing emotions and behavioral sensitivities. It is meant to be a safe place for your kids to retreat to when they are upset, angry, or overwhelmed with emotions that they don’t know how to process.  The important part of having a calm down corner is that it is NOT an area where your kid(s) should be sent as a form of punishment or discipline. It should be a place where your child wants to go to and chooses to go to because they feel comfortable there.

What can you use to create a calm down corner?

The short answer, just about anything. It is a bit more complex than that though. Calm down corners can be customizable to fit your budget and there are even several components that you can make yourself to help cut costs. You can create a calm down corner simply with a few pillows and blankets. You can set up a makeshift fort or even just lay a few pillows down and throw a blanket on top. You can use cushions or table cloths, tents or tepees. Get creative with it and make it a place that your child will want to spend time in. The goal is to make a place that is comfortable and safe for your kids to spend extended amounts of time in. Ultimately you know your child best so only you will know what they will benefit the most from.

What do you put in a calm down corner?

What to put in a calm down corner depends entirely upon the needs of your child. Every child is different, therefore, a calm down corner has to fit the personality of that child. For example, my daughter started out very aggressive at the beginning of her diagnosis. She was prone to throwing things, hitting, and self injurious behavior. So at first her calm down corner only contained pillows and blankets. When she started therapy and her aggressive behavior started to decrease, we gradually started adding things to her calm down corner. First it was sensory items such as pop-it’s and fidget spinners. Now she even has added a small toy box as well as her favorite dolls and stuffed animals. The calm down corner has grown as her needs have grown. A calm down corner is meant for the sole purpose of being your child’s “safe place” to express and reflect on their emotions.

We started using a calm down corner several years ago. My son, who is now 10 years old, has outgrown the calm down corner. He now has a reading corner instead where he spends his time relaxing. My daughter is 6 now and still regularly uses her calm down corner. It has changed over the years but the importance of it is still the same for her. She knows she has a place to go when she needs space and to express her emotions without hurting herself or others. A calm down corner should never be used as a place of punishment for your child. It should always be used for their comfort and support.

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