A Calming Area is a quiet area in your home equipped with soothing materials and furnishings to help children, of all ages, calm down and regulate big emotions like stress, anxiety, or sadness. The Calming Area should be cozy and soothing for your child to spend time in. It doesn't have to be fancy, just inviting.
Why is a calming area important?
Becoming and remaining calm during big emotions is an important and learned life skill. When we experience these big emotions our amygdala, the part of our brain that moderates our emotions, goes into overdrive. Our pre-frontal cortex, the good decision-making part of our brain is taken over. Our brain activates a fight, flight, or freeze response limiting logic and reasoning. A designated Calming Area provides a safe place to physically and mentally release and regulate big emotions.
When should we use a calming area?
It is important to introduce your child to the Calming Area for the first time when they are calm. Discuss the expectations when in the Calming Area and model how to use the tools. This area is neither a play area nor a form of punishment. When your child shows signs of BIG emotions, direct him/her to the Calming Area to re-center their emotions. Your child should be encouraged to use whatever tool they feel will help them best manage their emotions.
Creating a Calming Area
Each child is different and their Calming Area and tools should match their needs. This space should include comforting objects and soothing materials that can promote mindfulness, breathing, and reflection. Below are suggestions: