With many classrooms and parents picking up on the fact that children are unique and there might not be a one-size-fits-all solution to discipline, let’s take a closer look at what a calm down corner is all about. Essentially, it stems from the positive parenting ideology, that poses that children do better when their parents or carers approach their bad behavior with positivity rather than a harsh negativity.
A calm down corner is an area in a classroom or a home which children can go to when they need to regulate their emotions. It’s a helpful option when a child is experiencing a tantrum, fighting with siblings or peers, or just being overall aggressive. I think we can all relate to this, as there has always been one time or another when we’ve felt like we needed a calm down corner but it wasn’t available to us. A lot of the time when kids are having a meltdown they just need what we would want – a little space to calm down without feeling like they’re in trouble for it. When you feel like you’re in trouble it’s inevitable that your anxiety and tension will only e heightened, simply creating a negative loop on the situation.
A calm down corner is good for sensitive kids or kids who kids who need to develop their social-emotional skills. Essentially, almost any kid can benefit from a calm down corner if it’s done correctly. From it, they learn that there is an alternative to handling stressful situations with rage. They also learn how to be soothed, a skill that will come in handy for the rest of their lives.
So, what’s the difference between a time out and a calm down corner? A time out simply serves to punish a child, and is mostly done for the parent or teacher’s sake. Yet a calm down corner actually aims to help the child too. It’s better than a typical time out because instead of increasing tensions, it lowers them. This makes the whole environment calmer, while it also puts the child in a better position to absorb the lesson the adult would like them to learn.
A calm down corner might have different things, depending on the setting and the needs of the children. It might include a stuffed animal, some soothing sensory toys, and a chart about emotions. When your child is calm, not in the midst of a tantrum, it can be useful to ask the child what they would like to have in their calm down corner. Obviously, this is age-dependant, but it can be reassuring for kids to feel like their space is designated for them and has the connotation of being a “calm” space before they are even put there. With this in mind, involving them on what this space involves can be a good move in most cases.