A Calming Corner is a space where children can go to practice self-calming when feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated or upset. Helping children identify their feelings, choose ways to manage their emotions and taking time to calm down in a soft, quiet space teach children self-regulation.
After setting up a Calming Corner, like anything else, we need to teach children how to use it. After you create the space, share it with your group. Make sure they understand the goal behind the space. The goal is for children to use the calm down corner until they feel they can rejoin the group. It is not meant as a comfy space for students to hang out all the time, but it must be shared with their friends.
Introduce the Space
First, talk about what the Calming Corner is for and how it will be used. Large Group time is a good place for this type of discussion to take place so everyone can hear. Try some role-playing so children understand the process.
Clearly communicate who can use the space. The Calming Corner is for friends that are feeling sad, frustrated or upset. Save the space for someone who needs help with their feelings.
If a child wants to sit and read a book, is this the place? Needs to lay down for a few minutes? Where should a child do that? If the Calming Corner is okay for that in your classroom, consider having children set a timer to limit “just laying around.”
Teach How to Use the Resources
Make it a simple 3-step process:
- Decide to use the Calming Corner. When? If you’re feeling sad, frustrated, angry, or lonely. The child may not be able to label their feelings, but the child will recognize when their body and voice are not calm. Practice calm bodies and voices.
- Identify feelings with the display.
- Look at the What Can I Try display and then do that activity or sit and use the resources until calm.
Guide Children Through the Process
When a child is having a difficult time and melting down, you may need to guide them through the process of moving to the Calming Corner and using the tools. First, be supportive of a child’s emotions. Then walk the child through the Calming Corner 3-Step process.
Repetition & Practice
Try practicing using the Calming Corner and guiding children through the process of self-regulating. Through repetition, modeling and practicing, children will learn what the expectations are, how to identify their feelings and ways to manage their emotions through appropriate responses.
Looking for more information about implementing a Calming Corner? Register for our Helping Children Identify & Manage Emotions training and earn CED hours.
Download your Calming Corner Resources