What is a calm down corner?
A calm down corner is a really simple but often highly effective area where children can take a break from the commotion of the learning environment and have some time to calm down. Often used for children with SEND or behaviour management problems but if implemented and effectively promoted they can be a place of comfort and safety for many children.
Children can go to the calm down corner by free choice or some practitioners may like to send a child to this area as an alternative to a time out or thinking time. These areas allow children to recognise their own emotions and encourage self-regulation. Self-regulation is incredibly important for a child to accomplish so they are better able to deal with their emotions and control their behaviour.
Children may like to use this area when they are upset, angry, tired or just feeling overwhelmed. It gives them a few short minutes to take a break and regulate their emotions before joining back in with their chosen activity. Even as adults a busy room full of loud children can become overwhelming and we can feel like we need 5 minutes break out of the room. It is therefore important to recognise that this is equally true for many children so giving them the time and space they need to take a break and calm down is important.
What should I include in my calm down area?
Make sure you strategically place your calm down area so it is away from the busiest and loudest areas of the room. You may like to include –
- Comfy seating – beanbags, cushions, etc
- Rules – Display the rules for the area so the children know how to use this area. This may include things like choosing a calm down tool and set the timer. This encourages the children to join back in once the time has run out instead of hiding away from the group all day.
- Golden Rules – If this area is being used for children who are displaying unwanted behaviour displaying the golden rules will remind them of how they should be behaving
- Timer – As discussed above this is very important to encouraging children to return to the rest of the group and to not spend too long being angry or dwelling on things
- Calm down tools – This is a short activity that might help a child self-regulate such as sensory bottles, puzzles, pencils and paper, breathing exercises such as taking 5 deep breaths when you’re angry, books, puppets or yoga cards.
- Emotion Cards – These will help a child identify how they are feeling and let them know it is okay to feel this way. It can often be difficult for a child to vocally discuss how they are feeling so cards or pictures can be useful for them express themselves.
A full calm down corner pack is available here