Creating a Calming Corner

While calming corners can be used as an alternative behavioral management strategy for children who are having difficulties with self-regulation, both children and adults can benefit from spending time in a calming corner when feeling one or more of the following:

  • Feeling overstimulated
  • After having a meltdown
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling stressed & overwhelmed
  • Experiencing anxiety-spiraling and panic
  • Needing time to re-focus
  • Hyperactive or overly excited

Getting Started:

You do not need to have a large space. A small corner, closet or entire room may be used, creating a mini room within a room such as using drapes for adults or a play tent/ fort area for children is another option.

The corner can then be customized to meet the specific needs of the individual who will be using the space.

Add lights:

Twinkling white string lights, a soft lamp, a calming LED light projector, or colorful calming light in your favorite color are options. Some people may also opt for total darkness.

Add items to sit, lie down, and/ or relax. For example:

  • Massage chair
  • Heated neck & shoulder wrap
  • Bean bag chair
  • Weighted blanked or weighted vest
  • Soft rug & floor pillows
  • Stuffed animal(s)

Add sensory calming features for the senses of sound and smell

  • Music and/ or noise-cancelling headphones
  • Sound machine with soothing sounds
  • Mini waterfall fountain
  • Diffuser with essential oils
  • Scented candle

Add supplies to keep hands busy and serve as a distraction

  • Coloring/ art supplies
  • Crafting supplies
  • Books or journals
  • Items to practice deep breathing (e.g., pinwheels, bubbles, “breathing ball”)
  • Fidgets and sensory-calming toys

Add supplies to eat/ drink

  • Water bottle
  • Gum, hard candies, or suckers
  • Mini packets of crunchy or soft & chewy snacks

You may also want to add visually pleasing items that you enjoy looking at such as plants or artwork.

Bonus: Some of these ideas may also serve as gift options!

A calming corner is a great strategy that is used as a resource to be used whenever a break is needed to help with self-regulation. It is not to be used as a punishment, but rather a tool that is available when experiencing strong emotions and needing a break to calm.

Written by: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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