Letter from the Director!
Kids Need a Break, Too
Sometimes children have overwhelming emotions, and they just need some time to calm themselves. Having a calm down area in your home so that your child can take a break could be very beneficial. The calm down area provides children with a place to let go of strong emotions and begin to feel calm enough to engage with others again.
This area does not require a lot of space. It can be a chair that a child prefers, an area just for them filled with pillows away from everyone, or even their bedroom. Just make sure the area is quiet and soothing for the child. You can fill the area with things that are calming for your child, such as a stuffed animal, books, or squishy balls to squeeze.
Introduce this area to your child while they are calm and before any tantrums or meltdowns occur. Let them explore and become comfortable with the area. Explain to them that this is their very own safe space, and they can visit it whenever they need to “feel better”. You can even add a visual that helps remind the child to take deep calming breaths.
Never use the calm down area as punishment. The interactions in this space should be supportive and encouraging, although while your child is in the space, interactions and distractions should be limited.
Check in on your child once they are calm and be sure to discuss their emotions with them.
It may take some time and repetition, but this should help to foster the development of self-regulation for your child.