It’s no secret that raising children can be a challenge. As parents, we often turn to time-outs as a way to discipline our kids when they’re acting out.
However, time-outs may not be the best solution for all children. A calm-down corner can be a great alternative to time-outs.
What is a calm down corner?
Calm-down corners provide a designated space for children to go when they’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. The key is to make sure the space is calm and relaxing, with soothing colors and calming toys or activities. This can help the child to understand why they’re feeling upset and give them tools to deal with their emotions.
Here are a few benefits of a calm down corner and why calm-down corners are generally effective.
They build emotional regulation skills
Being able to calm down when emotions are overwhelming is a learned skill. It’s a skill that many grown adults lack today. What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your emotions, whether that’s being frustrated, angry, upset, or hurt?
Do you yell? Are you reactionary? Do you say things you don’t mean? Pretty much all of us do that from time to time. And it’s pretty difficult to fully control your reactions and regular your emotions all the time.
Calm down corners give kids ways to learn healthy emotional regulation skills from a very young age. Not many Boomer, Gen-X, Millennial, or Gen-Z-ers grew up with calm-down corners in their homes. They were likely sent to time out where they were expected to be able to control their emotional reactions without any guidance.
Time-outs aren’t effective for this because small children and older children will not discover the skill of emotional regulation and practice it without anyone to help them. Emotional regulation and teaching emotional regulation to your children is a cornerstone of mindful parenting and it’s a valuable gift to be able to give to your kids.
Calm-down corners can help build emotional intelligence
There are many ways to help children develop emotional intelligence, and one of them is to use calm-down corners. Calm-down corners provide a safe space for children to de-escalate and calm down.
They can be used for a variety of reasons, including when a child is feeling overwhelmed, angry, or sad. Calm-down corners should not be used as a punishment, but rather as a tool to help children learn how to regulate their emotions.
Timeouts, on the other hand, are often used as a form of discipline and can be seen as punitive. As such, they are not as effective in helping children to build emotional intelligence.
Help children to feel safe and protected in their own home
When children are feeling overwhelmed, they often need a safe place to calm down. This is where calm-down corners come in.
Calm-down corners provide a space for children to feel safe and protected. They can go there when they’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, and know that they won’t be disciplined for it. This can help to build trust between the parent and child.
Time-outs, on the other hand, can often be seen as punishment. This can lead to children feeling like they’re not safe in their own home, which can damage the parent-child relationship. Personally, I am unsure about whether time-outs actually damage children emotionally, because (limited) studies have shown that this is not likely to be true. But it’s pretty clear that time-outs don’t provide any direction in terms of helping children learn lessons from their bad behavior and actually reflect on how to do better in the future.
All in all, calm-down corners are a great way to help children calm down, build emotional intelligence, and feel safe in their own homes.
Teach children that emotions (even negative ones) are normal and there’s nothing wrong with them feeling sad, angry, or frustrated
One of the best things about calm-down corners is that they can help children understand that emotions (even negative ones) are normal. This is an important lesson for kids to learn, as it can help reduce shame and judgment around emotions.
Children who are sent to time out may feel like there’s something wrong with them for feeling negative emotions. This can lead to them internalizing their emotions and not expressing them in healthy ways.
Calm-down corners provide a space for children to feel all of their emotions without judgment. This can help them to understand that it’s normal to feel sad, angry, or frustrated sometimes. And it also teaches them that there are healthy ways to deal with these emotions.
Build mindfulness skills
Calm-down corners can also help children to build mindfulness skills. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
When children are feeling overwhelmed, they can go to their calm-down corner and take some deep breaths. This will help them to focus on the present moment and calm down.
Over time, this can help children to develop mindfulness skills that they can use in all areas of their life.
Help children start to learn from and reflect on their behavior
When children are sent to time out, they often don’t have the opportunity to learn from their behavior. This is because they’re typically left alone in a timeout, with no guidance from an adult.
On the other hand, calm-down corners can provide an opportunity for children to start reflecting on their behavior. After they’ve taken some time to calm down, they can talk to a parent or caregiver about what happened and why it wasn’t okay.
This can help children to understand their behavior and learn from it. It’s also a chance for parents to teach children how to regulate their emotions and handle conflict in a healthy way.
So there you have it! These are just some of the reasons why calm-down corners are so important for kids. If you’re looking for an alternative to time-outs, calm-down corners are a great option.
Next post I’ll talk about how to create a calm down corner at home effectively. There’s enough information out there to write an entirely new post about it, so that’s why I’m not adding that info in this article. I’ll link the article on how to make a calm down corner at home here when it’s finished.
Creating a DIY calm down corner is such a great idea, you’ll just want to make sure that you have a few specific elements in it and clear instructions for how to use the calm down corner. That way, you know that your child is getting the most use out of it as possible.