As parents, we seek out safe places when the world feels too overwhelming. Sometimes it’s under the covers watching Is it Cake? on Netflix. Other times, it’s behind a locked bathroom door. Safe spaces and time for reflection are essential to our well-being and sanity.
It’s no surprise that kids need spaces like this, too. Having what we call “calming corners” is vital for children who are overstimulated. It’s easy to create this self-soothing spot, and well worth the effort. To get started:
1. Find a space: Identify a location in the home that can be transformed into a self-care oasis. This might be a corner in the living room, your child’s bedroom or playroom. Ensuring that this space is quiet or low stimulating is key.
2. Make it comfy: Add a cushion, bean bag chair, favorite stuffed animals, or other soothing activities such as sensory tools or headphones for music.
3. Add visuals: Emotion posters and deep breathing exercises are a great place to start. There are numerous items online; have your child pick out their favorites, so they feel part of the process.
4. Personalize it: This is your child’s space, so let them have some control over the decor. Adding their favorite drawings or pictures of the family adds some responsibility and uniqueness, making your child more likely to use the space.
When your calming corner is set up, show your child how to utilize it for practicing deep breathing and identifying emotions. This way, they’ll be comfortable in the space and understand its purpose before big emotions begin.
The long-term goal is that your child will seek out this space and have the tools to self-soothe, giving them important skills to help them grow into a well-regulated adult.
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Mandy Martin Behavioral Specialist
KIDS NW connects families with compassionate
caregivers, specially trained in serving individuals