How to create a calm corner for your child
Updated: Jan 6
Today we're handing over to Ciaran Ivanovic, the wonderfully calm founder of Mindful Kids, to share one of her top tips for supporting your child when they need some help in calming down. There's practical tips in her video as well as links to buy the props and products Ciaran suggests.
"Most of us have experienced stressful moments with our children and have ended up telling them to, 'calm down!'. However by telling our kids to calm down without actually showing them how to, means that we're expecting them to self-regulate and return to a calm state of mind all on their own. This is not easy for kids to do (let alone for us parents!) which is why a calm down corner can help.
A calm down corner is a quiet space in your home away from the hustle and bustle of everything. Somewhere for your child to go and explore their feelings in a safe and healthy way when they're feeling overwhelmed, sad, frustrated or worried.
A quiet corner of a living room or your child's bedroom will work well. Some kids love crawling into an enclosed space (it can make them feel safe) so if you have an indoor teepee, do try it. Alternatively create a comfy nest using cushions and pillows. Try to make your calm down corner appealing!
In my video I talk you through items and ideas for you and your child to engage with in this safe place. Scroll down afterwards if you would like more information as well as links and resources to build your own safe calm down corner in your home.
Build your own unique calm down corner
Invite your child to breathe in and out (with hands on tummy) as they watch the snow or glitter settle. This will lower your child's heart rate helping them to feel calm.
2 Breathing balls
These engage mind and body. Invite your child to breathe in and out in time with the ball expanding and contracting.
3 Kinetic sand
This is brilliant for children who are feeling frustrated. Pound it, mold it & squeeze it as a form of stress-relief.
4 Breathing Tree finger tracing activity
Finger tracing is known to help children relax. It also aids concentration. Simply breathe in and out slowly and steadily as you trace your finger along the lines within the tree image.
You can download the Breathing Tree from the Mindful Kids resources page
An excellent introduction to breathwork. Invite your child to breathe in (through the nose) and blow the feather as they breathe out. See if they can catch it. Repeat 10 times.
Everyone loves bubbles! Ask your child to engage their senses as they focus on what they can see (colours), feel (wet, sticky bubbles or dry ones?) and hear (popping sounds). This mindfulness activity can help your child to feel centred and is especially effective for combatting anxiety.
Invite your child to carefully and gently wipe the leaves of a plant. This is calming in itself and takes your child's mind away from themselves, teaching them to care and think about other living things. Engaging & connecting with nature has many health benefits, including boosting feelings of happiness.
Try your local garden centre or use an online retailer like Patch
8 Rolls of paper for scribbling
Scribbling is liberating and allows your child to explore their feelings through drawing. Invite your child to scribble freely for as long as they like using one colour. Using another colour see if they can find (and colour in) shapes, letters or anything else they spot.
And, finally...don't expect them to do it all on their own
Finally, it would be unfair to expect your child to use their calm-down corner independently at first. Invite them to explore it with you initially when they're already feeling calm. Make this an exciting experience as you introduce them to all of the fun and engaging items within it, and explain that they can come into their calm corner whenever they want to either with or without you".
Ciaran Ivanovic is founder of Mindful Kids and is based in NW London where she lives with her husband and three children. Ciaran has been collaborating with Maggie and Rose since November 2019 when she gave a talk to parents during Children's Mental Health Awareness week about the benefits of mindfulness for children. She is delighted to be sharing some of her mindful breathing techniques with Maggie & Rose families. find out more, go to Mindful Kids London.