Introducing a calming corner in your classroom will equip students will self-regulation tools to calm down when they need to manage their emotions at school. The tools and tips in this post will help you teach your students to self-regulate safely and effectively without disruption.
How to Use a Calming Corner in the Classroom
Do you have students who struggle to manage their big emotions? A calming corner could be just what you need to help them in your classroom. Most often, kids don’t know how to calm down from anger or excitement, and a calming corner will equip them with the necessary tools as support.
Why Teach Kids Self-Regulation Skills
Young children experience big emotions, often without warning. They are still figuring out what their emotions mean and how to deal with them.
Teaching kids emotional self-regulation strategies can help them calm down when upset or overly excited. When kids can identify their feelings and calm down, you end up with a more manageable classroom.
What is a Calming Corner and Why You Should Have One
A calming corner is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a designated space for children to go to when they need to regulate their emotions. This space can be a corner or a small area in the classroom. It’s usually a super cozy space that makes students feel comfortable and at ease.
Having a safe space like this in the classroom shows students that you care. It provides kids with a place they can think through their emotions and use tools to calm down. Whether angry or overstimulated, a calming corner is equipped with materials to help them regulate their emotions so they can return to regular classroom activities.
How to Teach Students to Use a Calm Down Space
Like everything in the classroom, students must be taught how to use a calming corner effectively.
Introduce the calming corner at the start of the school year or as soon as you decide to add one. Explain what the corner is for and when students can use it. Reinforce the rules of the calm down corner and encourage students to consider whether they need to use it.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- When students need to go to the calming corner, have them do so quietly.
- While in the calm-down space, students should be as quiet as possible.
- Once in the calming spot, take 3-5 breaths before starting an activity.
- Use 1-2 tools from the calm-down kit to work through big emotions.
- Return to their desk when they feel in control of their emotions and calm and are ready to focus on their work again.
Model how to use the calm-down kit with students each quarter and remind them of all the tools that help. Show them how to use each of the tools in the area, including art materials, fidgets, and breathing techniques. Consistent reminders for how to use the tools are essential to the effectiveness of the calming corner.
How to Set Up a Calming Corner in the Classroom
Begin by decorating your space and making it feel welcoming and cozy. Add meaningful posters to let kids know where the area is with supportive visuals.
Add a beanbag or cozy pillows for students to sit and get comfortable with. Place a small table or a lap desk in the space if they choose to write or do art. If there is enough space, place a shelf in the area to house fidgets and other materials in bins. You want this space to be organized so students can easily find what they need.
You may want to spread this over a couple of days. Introduce one tool or strategy a day until you have shown them all the materials they can use from the calm-down kit.
When to Use a Calming Area
The best part about using a calming corner is that it is always readily available for students. When kids feel overwhelmed, they can use the calming corner. This space should never be off-limits to the kids.
Here are some examples of when a child feels a certain way and needs a calming space.
- Feeling sad or homesick and can’t stop crying.
- Upset that they didn’t get their way with something.
- Throwing a tantrum about doing work.
- Overstimulated by the classroom chaos or an event you just attended.
- Excited about something and can’t bring their brain to focus on their school work.
These reasons, and many more, are perfect examples of why a calming corner is a must in any primary education classroom. All kids get worked up about something at school, and this space gives them the tools and space they need.
Creating Calm-Down Kits for Kids
Calm-down kits are toolboxes filled with tools that students can use in a calming corner or independently of one. Creating these kids for students involves putting together objects that students can use to calm their bodies.
Must-Haves for your Calming Corner & Calm-Down Kit
Equip your calming corner with tools from a calm-down kit. These will include journals, notebooks, pencils, fidgets, calming books, breathing strategies, check-in charts, and anything else you can think of that will benefit students.
Add some essential items as you create your calming corner and calm-down kit.
- a quiet area
- pillows or beanbag chairs & blankets
- stuffed animals
- posters and visuals on the wall
- children’s books with calming examples
- journal & writing materials
- art materials
- glitter jar
- stress balls
- sensory items
- materials and tools from the Proud to Be Primary Calm Down Resource, including a feelings check-in chart, breathing strategy cards, calming strategies, and yoga cards.
See our list of suggested calm down tools to help you get started!
A calming corner is a perfect way to help students as they self-regulate in a safe space. Creating this area for students will make them feel heard and supported when their emotions are heightened in the classroom. Give them everything they need to stay calm and focus at school using the Calm-Down Kit materials from my shop.
Resources to Help You Teach Self-Regulation
Free Classroom Calm Corner Kit
Try the calming corner resources in your classroom with this FREE calm-down corner kit! You’ll see how easy it is to incorporate emotional self-regulation in the classroom.
This free Calm Corner Classroom kit includes.
- Posters to label your “calm down corner” area of your classroom or home.
- “I Feel” poster with emotions: Kids can clip the emotion to show how they are feeling.
- “I Can Be Calm” poster with 12 calming strategies: Kids can try the calming strategies listed pictured. Don’t forget to teach your students these strategies beforehand!
- “I Can Breathe” poster with 6 breathing exercises: Kids can practice the simple breathing strategies by following the instructions.
- Calm Down Journal: Kids color in a box to show how they feel and write a sentence about what they will do to calm down.
Click the image below to grab a copy.
Social Emotional Calm-Down Kit
Try the Calm-Down Kit by Proud to be Primary. It includes tools to customize your toolkit, posters & bulletin board printables, journals and storybooks, emotional-regulation strategy cards, breathing strategy cards, and feelings check-in charts. Everything you need to install a successful calming corner in the classroom.
More Self-Regulation Ideas for Kids
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