Tips for Virtual Learning

How to Create a Calm-Down Spot in Your House
Posted on 08/26/2020
A sample calm-down spot

A calming spot is a place teachers create in their classrooms to help students calm down and relieve stress. It is designed to be relaxing and comfortable and it is equipped with tools to help students self-regulate and calm their emotions to return to a state of mind that is optimal for learning. Here, Amber Francis, a second grade teacher at Hampton Elementary School, describes how to create and use a calming spot in your home.

1.    Find a Spot

Find a spot that is quiet and not too busy. It could be a corner in a room, or it could be an area in their own bedroom. Figure out what’s going to work best for you and your family. My family uses a corner in our downstairs dining room as a calm down spot. It is close by to everything on that floor.

2.     Delineate the Spot and Make it Cozy

Start with creating a way to delineate the space. Here are a few ideas:

  • a child’s tent
  • rod with a curtain
  • hang a hook from the ceiling and attach a canopy
  • lay out a blanket or mat

Next, focus on making the space cozy. Add some pillows or extra blankets, and a few stuffed animals in there.

3.    Add Some Calming Tools

Create a calm down toolbox (link below) for your child to use in times of stress and frustration. Get a box or a basket to hold items that will calm them. Some common items that help are stress balls, play dough, a book they like, or a toy that they enjoy playing with quietly.

Make coping skills cue cards (link below) so that your child can have a visual reminder of what calms and relaxes them. Include that in the box too.

4.     Explain & Practice

Your child will need an explanation of what a calm down spot is and how to use it. Show them where the spot is and explain to them that this is a place they can go when they need a break or need to calm down when they get upset or frustrated.

Let them add in their own specific items like a special blanket or a special stuffy. You want them to feel as cozy and comfortable as possible in this space.

When they are in a calm frame of mind, have them go into the spot and see how it looks and feels. It’s always best to practice using these strategies before a crisis arises.

5.     Calm Reminder to Use the Safe Place

The next time your child is looking like they are getting frustrated or angry, give them a gentle reminder to use the calm down spot. Remind them that it’s okay to take a break and come back when they feel ready.  In school, we use a hand signal where the student can communicate with the teacher or the teacher can communicate to the student when it may be a good time to use the safe place.

Will it work perfectly every time? Absolutely not! But it will be another coping skill to add to your child’s growing list of things to try to help deal with stress and big feelings.

Sources of Information:

Calm Down Toolbox

Coping Skills Cue Cards

Creating the Perfect Calm-Down Corner at my Home

How to Create A Calm Down Space for Your Child