As parents and caregivers, it’s important to teach children the skills they need to manage their emotions and stay calm in difficult situations. Lil’ Iguana teaches the lesson Cool & Calm to give children a blueprint for how to navigate their emotions in a sometimes stressful world. Lil’ Iguana offers lesson activity sheets like the Cool & Calm Fill in or the Cool & Calm Cut & Paste to help reinforce this lesson.

Another way to help manage emotions and promote mindfulness is by creating a “calm down corner” at home or in the classroom where children can go to relax, de-stress, and practice mindfulness.

A calm down corner is a designated area that is specifically designed for children to use when they are feeling upset or stressed. This can be a small corner of a room or an entire room designated just for this purpose. The goal of a calm down corner is to provide children with a safe, quiet space where they can take a break, practice deep breathing and mindfulness exercises, and engage in activities that help them relax and calm down. 

When setting up a calm down corner, it’s important to consider the needs and preferences of the child. You might print the Lil’ Iguana Yoga Poster or have kid friendly affirmation cards ready to review. 

Some things you might include in a calm down corner are:

  • Comfortable seating: A bean bag chair, cushion, or rocking chair can provide a cozy place for children to sit and relax.
  • Calm lighting: Soft lighting can help create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Calming colors: Display colorful visuals like Lil’ Iguana’s Cool & Calm poster to help create a soothing environment.
  • Nature elements: Adding elements from nature such as plants or a small fountain can also be relaxing.
  • Calming Activities: Providing a small selection of books or worksheets that focus on mindfulness, emotions, or calming activities such as Lil’ Iguana’s Calm Down Corner worksheet can be helpful for kids to explore and understand different strategies for coping with stress and emotions
  • Affirmation Cards: Kid friendly affirmation cards can provide a way for children to engage in a calming activity and empower themselves to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness exercises are an important part of a calm down corner. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. It can help children become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, which can in turn help them manage their emotions and stay calm. Some mindfulness exercises that can be incorporated into a calm down corner include:

To help kids achieve their goals, you can provide support and guidance along the way. This can include:

  • Deep breathing: Teaching children how to take deep, slow breaths can help them calm down quickly when they are feeling upset or stressed.
  • Environment & Body scan: Encourage children to focus on their surroundings to ground themselves.  They may want to use this worksheet.  Next, they should think about each part of their body, from their toes to the top of their head, noticing how each part feels and releasing any tension they may be holding. 
  • Guided imagery: Using a guided imagery audio recording, children can imagine themselves in a peaceful place and focus on the sounds, sights, and sensations of that place.

It’s important to note that a calm down corner should be a non-punitive space. It’s not a place where children are sent as punishment, but rather it’s a space where they can go voluntarily when they need to take a break and calm down.

Overall, a calm down corner and mindfulness practices can be powerful tools for helping children learn how to manage their emotions and stay calm in difficult situations. It helps them develop self-regulation skills which is an essential life skill that can benefit them throughout their lives. Encourage your child to take time in the calm down corner when feeling upset and using mindfulness techniques, it will not only benefit them in the moment but in their overall well-being.

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