Setting Up a Calm Corner

As families are adapting to doing school at home, you may be looking for some common activities or routines from school that can help your child adapt. If your child is having a hard time dealing with emotions around the change or any other situations, consider setting up a calm corner at home! Many classrooms have these set up already, so it may be a familiar process for your child.

What is a Calm Corner?

A calm corner is a set and agreed upon space where your child can go to regulate their emotions when they have big or strong feelings. It can be in their room, in a private area in your home, or just a cozy corner of the living room.

When to Use a Calm Corner?

When your child has or is showing signs of big feelings like anger, frustration, or dysregulation, a trip to the calm corner might be in order. But remember: the calm corner isn’t a punishment! It’s a space for your child to take a break and regulate and a great way for us to remind kids that it’s okay to step away from a situation to calm our bodies and minds before we move on.

What to include in your calm corner?

You definitely don’t need all of these items, but you may find something your own child really gravitates to and likes to use to regulate. Stock your corner with calming activities they like!

  • Comfortable seating (pillows, floor cushions)
  • A Feelings Chart
  • Calming Strategy Cards
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Sound machine with soothing noises
  • Timer
  • Sequin pillows or animals
  • Weighted lap animals
  • Sensory toys like squishy balls or fidgets
  • Water or gel drips
  • Favorite books
  • Coloring materials
Big picture

How to Use a Calm Corner

To start, visit the calm corner together. Start by identifying how you and your child are feeling. Use a feelings chart if you have one. Then try out some of the things you have in your calm corner. Sit quietly and use the sensory items, watch a water or gel drip timer, color, or just listen to the sound machine. Choose an activity and do it together or independently for a few minutes. Then, describe how you’re feeling after you try it. Feeling better? Move on. Not feeling better yet? Try another activity in the calm corner.

After visiting a few times together, let your child go independently when needed. They’ll already know what to do and how to use the items!

What To Do After Your Child Uses the Calm Corner

Afterward, spend some time processing what happened and what went well. Having these conversations will normalize the experience of having big feelings and remind your child that it’s okay to feel and to take time to manage those feelings! It will also help to solidify to your child that when they have big feelings, they know and can use strategies to help themselves feel calm again.

  • How were you feeling before you went to the calm corner? What happened right before that?
  • What did you try in the calm corner that helped you feel better?
  • How does your body feel now?
  • What can we do next time before you feel that way?
*Information adapted from CounselorKeri.com*