Calm Down Corner

Calm Down Corner

Calm down corners are a great addition to the home and classroom. 

It is set up to be a safe space for children to go to if they are feeling dysregulated, angry or frustrated. Sensory tools are added to the space to support a calming environment. 

Choose a quiet corner in the space where there are few distractions. In the home this may be a space that the grown-up can monitor the child as they self regulate. In the classroom, this would be a space or corner that allows for monitoring, while also giving the child some space from their classmates if needed. 
    
In both spaces, this is a dedicated area of the room.  The purpose of the space should be clearly communicated with the child. Invite them to explore the calm down corner and the items in it.  Let them know what the calm down corner is and when they can use it. This can sound like, “This is our calm down corner. When you are feeling ______(frustrated, angry, anxious) you can come here and rest your body while you find your calm.  You can explore the fidgets, or stretch the bands, to get out the extra energy in your body. When you are ready we can talk about your feelings.”  Communicating with your child is especially important.  They may need to be guided to the calm down corner when it is first introduced. 
    
In a classroom you will want to set up guidelines for the class.  This may include how many students can use the space at one time and how long the space can be used. The more involved you can incorporate the students ideas, the more vested they will be in the calm down corner.  Including a visual of the expectations in the calm down corner is recommended. You may also want to add floor mats to give a visual boundary to the space. 
    

Lighting

Consider soft, adjustable lighting.  This may be natural light with adjustable blinds, or a touchable soft, warm, lamp. A touch light gives the child choice so that they can easily darken or lighten the space. 
    

Textures

Multiple textures will help create choice for the child. A soft lambskin rug provides a natural plush place for your child to rest as well as grasp their hands. Plush, colorful or textured pillows create a feeling of coziness. 
   

Fidgets

Fidgets come in a variety of styles.  Placing a few fidgets in a basket or nearby table can support your child.  Bubble fidgets, fidget tubes, stretchy bracelets,  stretchy bands, and push pops can all satiate the need to stretch, move, push and pull. 
   

Noise

Adding a sound machine to the space can give added choice as your child finds soothing sounds. Sensory tools for sound can also include a rainmaker. Noise canceling headphones can also be made available for children with auditory
sensitivity. 
   

Timer

Putting out a sand timer or a silent visual timer can support time awareness as they utilize the corner.  These can be used as guidelines as needed. 
  
There are many benefits to a calm down corner. They can help reduce anxiety and stress. They can encourage the development of self-regulation skills by allowing individuals to choose and engage in calming activities that work for them. Calm down corners also promote short breaks to refocus and improve attention. 
   
Remember that the goal of a sensory corner is to create a personalized and supportive space for relaxation and self-regulation. Regularly assess and adjust the sensory corner based on your child’s feedback and changing needs.
   
By Kristi Melick.
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