Despite our best efforts in being understanding towards our children and their needs, they tend to get emotionally dysregulated. When you find your child getting restless or agitated, a calm-down corner might just be the best thing for your child to retreat to with you for some cuddling, cartoons, or to read a book together. This change of setting coupled with some quality time provides the right amount of comfort and attention for your child to recharge and re-regulate their mood.
On some days, your child might not be as easy to discipline, especially when they are screaming at the top of their lungs or throwing tantrums on the floor. If they’ve misbehaved in any way, a timeout may be in order, but this isn’t always the case. Children often find it difficult to get a hold of their emotions, so screaming or throwing tantrums may just be signs that they are having a bad day. In this case, you should not be giving them a timeout as they may feel like their emotions are shameful or not allowed in your house. Instead, bring your child to your calm-down corner and spend about 10-15 minutes with them to find out exactly what’s going on with them. Ideally, you want them to learn and understand that emotions are a part of life, and they only need to be wary of the way they express them to others. But this isn’t always an easy thing for them to learn.
Most adults themselves aren’t exactly constructive in expressing their emotions.
We often have the misconception that showing our feelings are unacceptable and we work hard to suppress them. We use screens or food or everything else to stuff them. Stuffed emotions, however, don’t stay stuffed – they’re always bubbling up to get healed. When easily triggered, they explode. That’s when adults have their own temper tantrums, and this process is similar in children.
In order to teach your child how to re-regulate effectively, you should start by offering calm understanding when they showcase big emotions. Make it known to them that they’re safe, and you love them the same even when they are upset. Show them you are there to go through that moment with them and find a way to solve whatever problem they have, together. This foundation gives your child the courage to accept their emotions and learn to manage them well. A calm-down corner is the best environment to facilitate this.
This approach of consoling your dismayed child also helps them to build the neural circuits to calm themselves more readily. Every time we soothe a child who is upset, their body releases soothing hormones and neurotransmitters, which enhances self-soothing neural networks. In other words, your child will gain the ability to calm themselves down. As this is done more often in your calm-down corner at home, your child will associate the corner with calmness. Before long they will learn how to calm themselves down without your help.
A calm-down corner is a place in your home to seek comfort.
It could be furnished with a stuffed beanbag, a rocking chair, or just a fluffy rug. It would also help if you could play audios that take your child through a guided meditation. One important thing to note about the calm-down corner, however, is that you should never send your child there alone or it will feel like a disciplinary timeout. Always go with your child, so that they associate the cosy corner with positive vibes. When you are busy with chores, give them a hug and assure them you’ll meet them in the calm-down corner in a few minutes, and don’t forget.
You shouldn’t wait until your child is feeling down top try your calm-down corner. Initiate some down time with your child in the cosy corner early on show them it is a happy place. In time to come, you will begin to notice that once your child is accustomed to following you to the cosy corner and savouring the comfort of a time-in there, they will start to head there on their own when upset.