As we get older and experience more in life, we learn to deal with “big” emotions and the “heavy” feelings that come along with those experiences.
Children, however, are not yet equipped to managing strong emotions, which can lead them to have temper tantrums or melt-downs.
For children who have ASD, tantrums, and melt-downs can be even more severe.
It is ideal for parents and caregivers to have the ideal environment set up for children who may need a safe space to calm down.
In this blog, we will be going over the necessary steps that parents and caregivers can take to create the perfect at-home calm down corner for their children, particularly those who have autism.
Choose the Best Space Possible
You will want to find an area that will work for your clam-down corner.
An area that has enough space, and isn’t being used for any other purposes is ideal because your child will know and understand that this area is specifically used for calming down.
Get your child involved in where the area could be in your home and go through the process of defining and explaining it to them right off of the bat.
This way they feel that they are included in the planning and process and they will feel more comfortable with the idea and the chosen area.
There’s no need to make your calm down corner overly roomy, but you’ll want to make sure there is enough space for activities and so the child feels like they have enough room for comfort.
What to include
You’ll want to keep some toys and activities in your calm-down corner for children to utilize. Let’s cover some great options for toys to include in your calm down corner below!
- Stress Ball
- Ooze tube or visual timer
- Favorite stuffed animals
- Putty or playdoh
- Bean bags or pillows
- Tactile fidget tool such as this Poke & Pop fidget
- Emotions or coping tools visuals/reminders
The sensory toys and tools will certainly help calm children down, however, it is also helpful to teach some calming techniques that the children can be mindful of and practice while they are in the calm down corner.
Meditation & Breathing- The mind will follow the body. It can be deeply calming to for children with autism, anxiety, and/or ADHD to practice light meditation techniques and deep breathing exercises.
Simple breathing exercises can help to ground us in the present moment and regulate racing thoughts. Rainbow breathing is a great example- click here!
Counting from one to ten- Similar to deep breathing, counting from one to ten can be soothing and calming as it helps to interrupt whatever sensory experience or extreme emotions the child might be experiencing.
Once the child reaches ten, they may be calm enough to re-center and be redirected to an activity that is more beneficial for them.
Weighted Blankets- Children with autism may find comfort from the pressure of a weighted blanket on their bodies.
Much like a child might find comfort in having their back patted when they are falling asleep, the pressure can be soothing and make them feel supported.
When to use it?
There is no specific time or reason to use a calm-down corner, but hopefully the info above has given you some ideas on when this creative and intentional environment may be beneficial for children with autism, anxiety, or ADHD.
If you are looking for the perfect sensory toys and tools to add to your calm-down corner, CLICK HERE to see what DeveloPLAY has to offer.
DeveloPLAY’s system will make sure that each month, you are shipped a custom box of sensory toys that will keep your calm down corner stocked and effective.