A hallmark of each of our Early Childhood classrooms is a cozy corner or safe space for retreat when children are feeling big emotions.
Create a special place for your child at home where they can go if they need a break. These spaces are not meant to be a time out, but rather a place children can relax, calm down, and reflect. You probably have all the materials you need at home to create a calming place for your child. Below, we've listed a few key "ingredients" to mimic the cozy corners we set up at school.
- A space separate from your play areas - this could be a corner or your living room or child's bedroom. You can use furniture to dilineate the space or even use a large box, if you have one. If you're handy (and you have the time, money, and mental strength to build your own), you can even create a space using PVC pipe or plywood.
- Pillows, blankets, and other soft materials for sitting or laying down comfortably. Many of our classrooms utilize large pillow dog beds!
- Stuffed animals, lovies, something to snuggle.
- Calm down books - especially ones that highlight feelings
- Feelings poster (free printable from Adventure in a Box here)
- Fidget toys - squishy balls, sand timer, stretchy toys, sensory bottles
Adapt for your needs as you see fit. Start to introduce the space slowly. Spend time there with your child before using it during a tantrum moment.
They may remember the space from their classroom, but at home, it may feel different. Be sure to stay with your child if they need physical connection or help calming down. Some kids prefer to calm down alone, while others need assistance, so take cues from your child.
One thing to remember, this space is not for time out and is not a play space. The tools in your cozy corner are to help in navigating big emotions, calming down, or resting. Keeping these items separate from play things is important so your child will begin to seek them out when needed.
The goal is for kids to learn to recognize their emotions and find solutions to fix them on their own. Of course, they may still need a hug from an adult, but we want them to become independent in the management of blowups, both big and small!