Creating a School Calm Down Room
Is your school creating a calm down room or a calm down corner? Calm down rooms are a place for students to go to self-regulate their emotions or remove themselves from over-stimulating situations. They are meant to be a place to calm down intentionally and not used for punishment. They are a way for a student to remove themselves from an overwhelming environment and practice independently to regain control of their emotions. Reducing sensory overwhelm can be helpful so minimizing the number of colours, sounds or distractions can help the student focus inward.
Here are some items to consider for your quiet room.
Whether it be with a play couch that can be built into a fort or tent to hide, a place to feel safe and secure, apart from the rest of the world can be beneficial for students who need to remove themselves from the greater space.
Another benefit to a play couch is the control to choose a seating arrangement. They can use the cushions to make a seating area low to the ground or high in the air. They can lean on an angle or be perfectly upright. They can position the cushions to sit alone or arrange it for a friend to join them.
Headphones with the ability to listen to quiet music, meditation, nature sounds can be helpful. Certain instrumental toys can make calming sounds like a rainstick.
Weighted blankets have been shown to reduce anxiety and provide feelings of calmness. Having access to a weighted blanket and pillows can make a space feel more comfortable and reduce stress levels. Scents can be a great way to calm down so consider having calm down bottles that allow the kids to access the smell without it perfuming the entire space or creating a mess. Think dried lavender in a plastic spice bottle with tight netting glued under the lid.
Make a calm down kit that lets kids engage in tactile activities like pop-its or squishy balls. Flip through books that use age appropriate tools to help practice breathing exercises or learn how to recognize emotions can be useful as well. Some writing tools and paper could be additional options for kids to doodle or journal whatever is on their mind.