When children experience big emotions, it may be hard for parents to find ways to help their children process these big feelings. Sometimes telling children to “calm down” or “take a deep breath” just doesn’t work. A peace corner is a great resource that can be set up in any home or school as a safe space for children to use to help them with their big feelings and emotions. This can also be called a zen zone, calm corner or whatever you and your child decide. It is vital to remember that a peace corner is not a time out. The purpose of a peace corner is to create a positive soothing environment with tools to help children self-regulate as opposed to a time out which can be used as a threat and a removal of the child from others in a negative manner.
How to start a peace corner in your home
This space doesn’t necessarily need to be a corner. It can be any quiet area where the child can go to which allows them to take a pause. Explain to your child that when they feel sad, mad, angry or frustrated or even over excited, they now have a space that they can go to which will help them with their big feelings and calm their brains and body. Include your child in creating the space and talk to them about the purpose of the peace corner during a time when there is a sense of calm in the home.
Tools to include in your peace corner
Start with 3-5 tools and then add or subtract as needed. Tactile or sensory items can really help children calm down, especially for little kids. Let the child choose which tool to use so they can best determine which strategy works best for them.
Hoberman Sphere (breathing ball) to have them match their breathing with the ball
Soft stress balls
Mandala Coloring books
Books with positive affirmations like this or a positive story such as this or a book that addresses big emotions such as this
Zen sand garden (for big kids)
Perform a body scan and observe what is happening with different parts of their body.
Comfy chairs, bean bag chairs or pillows
When the child returns to the group
After about 5 minutes in the peace corner, check in on your child (or maybe stay with your
child the entire time). If they have calmed down, ask them to return to the group or previous activity. If appropriate, now is the time to talk about the incident that led to the tantrum, role play and talk about conflict resolution skills.
Do you have any experience with a peace corner in your home? Let us know in the comments below!