However tight you are for space in your home, if you have small children then creating a Calm Zone or a place where you can have Time-In together, can be essential.
Allan Donque (the Cry of Anger) via Wikimedia Commons
Small people can have BIG emotions and learning how to handle them appropriately can be greatly aided by having a safe space where they know they can go to express their feelings and calm down, either alone or with the support of a loving adult. If you have the right weather, then outdoors is ideal, as being surrounded by nature can soothe even the most obdurate of tempers.
ďLittle Boy Walking In PrairieĒ by chrisroll via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Unfortunately, this isnít an option for most families, so creating a Calm Zone in your home is the next best thing. Here are the elements that you will need for success:
Flooring The floor surface in your Calm Zone should be firm but yielding, so that a child can throw themselves down and kick or punch at the floor without hurting themselves or damaging the floor. Interlocking rubber floor tiles are ideal for this, or failing that a yoga mat or a thick rug will do the trick.
Image by jeltovski via morgueFile.com
Screening Like a frightened or injured animal, children prefer small, private spaces to retreat to when they feel out of control and overwhelmed by their emotions. To create this, you can hang a net canopy from the ceiling, use a pop-up tent, or an old-fashioned screen.
Image by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons
If you canít obtain any of these, an old sheet draped over a clothes airer will be just as effective, if not as aesthetically pleasing!
Cushions Having something soft and yielding either to hug tightly or pummel very hard can be very helpful in expressing and releasing emotions. A pile of enticing cushions will also enhance the comfort of your Calm Zone and make it a more attractive place to be in.
Image by ponsulak via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sounds Music and other soothing sounds can be a very important tool in helping your child relax and unwind. Older children could have a music player with some of their favourite songs on or some meditation music. A musical mobile works well with younger children. Or you could try singing to them! The many benefits of singing to your children are explained in this article here. Windchimes or a glockenspiel make a lovely sound and give your child a chance to create their own music and have some control over their environment.
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Scent Smells can be very good at helping regulate emotions; having a room spray with calming essential oils that an older child could spray themselves or a reed diffuser near the Calm Zone will be very helpful. Itís not a good idea to have a candle or a scent that relies on a heat source though, an angry child plus flames or heat is not a good combination!
Lighting Subdued lighting is a must for calming down. This can be in part achieved if you have a tent or a canopy, otherwise blinds or net curtains on windows to cut down the light coming in during the day are needed. Lava lamps or fairy lights can also help to produce a soft, tranquil and relaxing feel.
Pictures If you have space, then some pictures or wall decals of peaceful, soothing scenes are a good idea. Natural items or landscapes are usually best, though be guided by what your child finds restful and attractive.
Calm Lake by VerityG
Donít forget when setting up your Calm Zone to include your child wherever possible in decisions regarding what to have in it. If they feel ownership of the space, then they will be more likely to use it and to experience its true worth as a place to regain some self-control and serenity. You will also find that if you enjoy the space together in peaceful times, for example reading or having conversations, then that will enhance the feeling of comfort and security during more turbulent moments.