parenting

  • 9 Ways To Stay Calm When Your Kids Don’t Listen

    Staying calm and keeping our cool when kids press our buttons lol is tough. You don’t want to yell or hit them. You want to discipline and teach them in a healthy effective way without losing your mind. It’s simple to manage difficult behavior once you understanding the reason behind them. I’ll share 9 easy ways I stay when my children don’t listen.

    Understand The Root of Your Feelings

    To get the root of your emotions, you need to ask yourself if and why you’re angry. Is the frustration building from any other area of your life, and you’re reflecting this on your children? If this situation happened three days from now and you were away from your kids, would you feel the same?

    Remove Yourself From The Scene

    Walk away to cool off. Head to the bathroom, your closet, porch, or backyard and take a 5-minute break to figure out the most effective way to respond versus react. It is possible to calm down without losing your temper.

    Scream It Out

    If you can’t stop yourself from yelling, feel free to scream into a pillow or head to the bathroom (or any solo room) to close the door and let it out.

    Related: How-To End Power Struggles With Children

    Visualize Connections

    Imagine what you genuinely want your relationship with your child to look like. Now, compare that to how it looks at the moment. Keeping the vision in focus allows us to remember our WHY. To ground us in the midst of frustration. Visualize yourself staying calm with your little one.

    Stay Prepared

    Create and choose a strategy you’ll use ahead of time to help yourself stay calm during tantrums, etc. It’s not always easy to deal with difficult behavior but it’s definitely possible to be a calm parent if your READY.

    Related: How-To Discipline A Difficult Child Without Hitting

    Keep A Notebook

    Make a habit of jotting down frustrating moments. Then, at another time, look your notes over and allow yourself to free write without judgment. What happened? Why were you feeling this way? Then, move on with your day.

    Related: How-To Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling

    Remember It’s Never About You

    When kids are disobedient, it’s almost always a request for help and guidance. More than anything, your child wants (and needs!) you to stay calm to help them healthily solve their problem

    Sometimes It IS About YOU

    An unconventional statement, but, children are merely mirrors or tape recorders as I jokingly say. They are reflecting your own emotions. Whatever feelings your child is exhibiting, take a quick body scan, and analyze whether you are experiencing those emotions. Then, work on shifting your attitude, and your kid will follow.

    Related: Keeping Calm As a Parent

    Delay Your Reaction

    If you can delay your anger or yelling (even if for just a few minutes)- you’re setting yourself up for success to approach the situation in a calmer way

    calm woman
    happy parent and child
    unattentive child
  • 11 of The Best Growth Mindset Books for Parents

    There must be hundreds of parenting books available but which books are best for helping you understand growth mindset? I’ve listed many books below that’ll help with just that! Enjoy and if you’ve read other helpful books, share them with me in the comments below.

    No time to read the list now? PIN TO SAVE IT FOR LATER!

    growth mindset book

    We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Please click my disclosure policy to learn more. I only recommend products & services I’ve used, vetted, & love! I appreciate you.

    Mindset: by Carol S. Dweck

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    Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, spent decades researching what caused some children to flourish while others seemed to stall. She discovered that there were what she calls two types of mindsets. There were the “fixed mindset and those that held a “growth mindset.” essentially, people with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be developed and they can learn anything. While those with a fixed mindset believe they are either born with their gifts and talents, or they’re not. Dweck shares these findings to help motivate teachers, parents, and other professionals to motivate positive outcomes. “With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love — to transform their lives and your own.”

    happy kids with growth mindset books

    Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

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    Psychologist Angela Duckworth shares her groundbreaking perspectives on gaining achievement. She states that talent alone does not equal outstanding achievement but persistence and GRIT. She shares her insights on why some people fail, and others succeed and the importance of remaining focused. She shares gripping personal stories that are insightful and life-changing. 

    How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

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    Paul Tough tackles the question, “Why do some children succeed while others fail?”

    In “How Children Succeed,” Paul Tough argues that a child’s qualities and matters most are least related to their IQ scores and more to do with their character and skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism. (He uses sound neuroscience and psychological research to support his perspectives.) He provides a radically different perspective and how to understand how our children develop character and how they learn to think and overcome adversity. This book will inspire you and change your understanding of childhood for the better. 

    Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids by Mary Cay Ricci

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    In this book, Mary Cay Ricci provides parents a blueprint for developing a growth mindset in their home. You’ll find her conversational style of writing approachable and real-world examples applicable to your own lives. This book is easy-to-digest and provides strategies for children of all ages.

    The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher’s Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve by Annie Brock

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    This book was created by teachers for teachers and is an ultimate guide for unleashing students’ potential through creative lessons, empowering messages, and innovative teaching. This book provides everything you need to foster a growth mindset in the classroom. 

    The Growth Mindset Playbook: A Teacher’s Guide to Promoting Student Success by Annie Brock

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    This book is an easy-to-implement collection of creative ideas and new strategies that inspire students with the power of a growth mindset. As a sequel to The Growth Mindset Coach, education professionals Annie Brock and Heather Hundley show how to take mindset to the next level with further resources, examples, and ideas. This book is packed with detailed lesson plans, hands-on activities, and discussion points for talking with parents and other educators. 

    Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

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    This book by Shonda Rhimes (yup, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder Shonda Rhimes!) takes us on her journey of how saying YES for one year. Changed her life―and how it can change yours, too!

    Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching by Jo Boaler

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    This book will help rid math anxiety for students of all ages. It provides practical strategies and activities to help teachers and parents show all children they can enjoy and succeed in math (even if they hate it). Jo Boaler–Stanford researcher, professor of math education, and expert on math learning–has studied why students don’t like math and often fail in math classes. She’s followed thousands of students through middle and high schools to explore how they learn and find the most effective ways to unleash the students’ math potential. She illuminates the gap between what research has shown to work in teaching math and what happens in schools and at home. This book bridges that gap by turning research findings into practical activities and advice. Boaler translates Carol Dweck’s concept of ‘mindset’ into math teaching and parenting strategies, showing how students can go from self-doubt to strong self-confidence, which is essential to math learning. Boaler reveals the steps that schools and parents must take to improve math education for everyone. 

    The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by D. Siegel

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    This book helps guide parents to unlocking their child’s innate capacity for resilience, compassion, and creativity. In The Yes Brain, Siegal gives parents skills, scripts, and activities to bring kids of all ages into the beneficial “yes” state. You’ll discover the four fundamentals of the Yes Brain-balance, resilience, insight, and empathy. How to strengthen them, the key to knowing when kids need a gentle push out of a comfort zone vs. needing the “cushion” of safety and familiarity and the strategies for navigating away from negative behavioral and emotional states (aggression and withdrawal) and expanding your child’s capacity for positivity. The Yes Brain will help you nurture a positive mindset and keep your child’s inner spark strong!

    How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk by A. Faber

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    In this book, the authors guide us on tackling the challenging issues teens and parents face today. With their conversational writing style and straightforward advice, you’ll find it easy to walk away with easy-to-implement strategies and techniques to help you parent well. 

    The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by G. Chapman

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    In this book, Chapman provides tangible resources on parenting children well based on their “Love Language”. A must-read!

    Grit for Kids by L. Daniels

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    This book will give practical advice on how to help kids develop GRIT! This book will walk you through and teach you how to do this in an easy-to-digest way. You’ll discover how to inspire your kids, teach them ways to manage their emotions, increase optimism, and so so much more!

    How to Be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise

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    In this book, Guise suggests an exciting concept called “Imperfectionism.” Guise shares that from an early age, most kids are taught to color inside the lines and any color that goes outside those lines is considered to be a mistake (that should be avoided.) Guise shares how perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. However, Imperfectionism permits us to live outside the lines where “possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgment is minimal.” Guise applies the science of behavior modification directly to perfectionism’s roots, which then shows us a new and better change method. 

    There it is Mama’s! These book are the MUST-HAVES in your library if you’re keen to understand a growth mindset. If you’re looking for more growth mindset and positive resources, check out my other posts (you can also “search” growth mindset in the search bar)

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    growth mindset book for moms
    growth mindset books for parents
  • 9 of the Best Tools to Make Your Life EASIER When You’re Stuck at Home!

    9 of the Best Tools to Make Your Life EASIER When You’re Stuck at Home!

    Now that we’re all in some form of lockdown and stuck at home, we need help to keep kids occupied more than ever! I’m sharing the best tools, services and more that’ll make your life easier when you can’t leave the house.

    1.This Disinfectant

    I recently purchased a bottle of this cleaner, and I’m in love. Obviously, I feel obliged to share it with you, considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic and all. This stuff smells fantastic and is an effective germ killer. It’ll disinfect everything in your home fast and is safe to use around children. 

    Make sure you use this to disinfect your doorknobs, light switches, remotes, facets, and countertops daily! (and any other frequently touched surface)

    2. Growth Mindset Journal

    This journal is my favorite resource for teaching my kiddos how to confidently develop a resilient mindset to face life’s challenges. Since we have some extra time, I’m desperately searching for non-screen time things to fill the gaps. I recommend this bundle HERE or anything in this SHOP. The printables are a high-quality resource for parents, teachers, and counselors. 

    And you can get 25% OFF the bundle by using the code: SAVE25

    growth mindset workbook colouring book for kids
    coloring growth mindset book

    3. Time Timer

    Is anyone else finding their kids and routines are entirely out of whack right now? 

    Maybe, the kids are fighting more, you’re experiencing more meltdowns, disobedience, or the kids are going to bed later and later every night. 

    Whatever the case is, you NEED this timer in your life. Why? This brilliant little creation visually shows your child how much time they have left for specific tasks! It’s handy for kiddos that have NO SENSE of time. LOL (you know what I mean, ahaha. Is it ready NOW???)

    I use it for a ton of things, multiple times a day. 

    • Screen-time limits
    • Play-time
    • Schoolwork time
    • Cooking
    • Cleaning
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    Pretty much ANY routine that needs timing. Now, for the pessimist or extreme couponers in the back, LOL (I see you. I was you too). I know you’re wondering WHY you would invest in something like this when you could use the timer on your phone. BUT, while you’re right, you could use this; you’re kids can’t see the timer/clock.

    Trust me, using this clock will significantly reduce the temper tantrums and meltdowns that come from “time being up.” This way, your kids can trust their timing and judgment because they can SEE what is left. It’s so simple but genius!

    4. How to talk so kids will listen

    This book is utterly amazing, and quite frankly, every person should read it. Whether or not they have children. Why? If you have kids, that’ll be your holy grail to understand how to talk to your children like the little human beings they are.

    If you don’t have children (hmm, if you don’t, I’m not sure what brought you here, LOL), this book will still help you speak to other adults in a compassionate, understanding, and empathetic way. Most, if not all, adults have unresolved trauma. With many utterly unaware that this exists. When we speak to one another, we are essentially talking to the delicate inner child (& childhood experiences/perspectives) within us. 

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    5. Darling Steps’ Huge List of Activities For Kids

    I’ve compiled a list of activities for kids to complete no matter where they are in the world. Most, if not all, are free or low-cost. 

    Access the list of kids’ activities here.

    birds eye view of three children playing on a bed with puzzles and toys

    6. Books for Kids

    We have a family of avid readers. (Hello, friend! You’re looking at the quiet, shy kid whose head was always in a book. I forced, I mean encouraged this hobby onto my children) 

    Although this list isn’t cumulative ( I promise, i am working on writing a list of every book we have read, loved, and enjoyed! I can’t wait to share it!)

    Here’s a list of our favorite books to help kids foster a positive, growth mindset. 

    These books use fantastic imagery and examples to show kids how to think positively and develop resilience. 

    Check out those growth mindset books here.

    7. Musik Subscription

    Musik is one of my family’s favorite subscriptions! We love it because it’s like Netflix or on-demand for MUSIC! It’s laid-back yet organized fun. You choose any class you want, grab any instrument you have on hand or household items in its place, and hit play. Before long, you and your kids will find yourselves singing and having fun! 

    It’s an easy way to insert intentional bonding time into your day. You could also opt to use it as the “Netflix nanny,” where the kids follow the teacher while you complete any chores or work. 

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    8. Green Kid Crafts

    My kids (and me! Who am I kidding? lol) LOVE these boxes! It can be such a struggle attempting to put crafts together that don’t look like a haphazard project the dog ate! Everything your kids would need comes included right in the box! And I don’t know about your kids, but my kids love receiving mail. (don’t we all?)

    They provide cool, fun, engaging science and STEM discovery boxes that are extremely high-quality, beautifully designed, and thoughtfully crafted to stimulate your child’s passion. And, if that wasn’t enough- they are a great small mom-owned business that provides excellent customer service. You’ll definitely want to grab your FREE TRIAL here!

    9 of the Best Tools to Make Your Life EASIER When You're Stuck at Home! 18

  • How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!)

    How To Create a Calming Corner for Kids

    A calm-down corner is a great way to diffuse tantrums. Essentially, It’s also a soothing space designed just for your child or students. Creating a “calming corner” allows kids to learn valuable skills for regulating their emotions.

    What Is a Calm-Down Corner?

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    A calm-down corner is where children can calm down when they notice their emotions beginning to spiral out of control.

    A calm-down space is simply a place where your kids can go and sort of escape to when they experience high/intense emotions. In this “calming corner,” they can calm their energy, mind, and body to safely and productively release these emotions. 

    Your corner can be as simple as a space with a soft mat and a bucket of books. Or it can be a fancy elaborate space booming with colors and art. It may not even be a corner! The important thing is to find an area where your child feels calm, relaxed, and in control (away from noise, chaos, and mayhem). 

    A calming corner is a place for kids to calm down. Rest and reset. It gives children a safe space. In it, they can choose a non-stimulating activity and lower their energy levels back to a neutral state. 

    A calming corner is essentially a safe and positive place, free of blame, pain, or shame.

    It’s important to note that most children (especially younger ones) often have little or no emotional regulation.

    What does this mean? 

    It means it crucial to monitor your children’s stimulation levels.

    Kids are sort of like a boiling pot of water. They get warm, then hotter, then they start bubbling, and finally, all hell breaks loose, and everything boils over!

    One of the reasons I always create a calming corner for my kids and students is because it blocks out stimulation, noise, and, most of all, me trying to control their behavior. This allows them an opportunity to regulate their emotions first. It’s a massive improvement!

    Sometimes we call it our quiet space, but it’s also referred to as a calming corner, calm-down space, cozy corner, sensory tent, or cool down spot.

    Calming corners also help kids with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and spirited children. 

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 20

    How Does a Calming Corner work?

    When children experience big emotions, such as anger, frustration, or grief, it’s easy for kids to become overwhelmed by these emotions. 

    When the brain is flooded with big emotions, the frontal lobe (the part of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning) checks out and goes home. The limbic system (the emotional part of the brain) takes over. And THEN, this makes it hard for kids to think clearly. 

    Tell me if you’ve ever noticed THESE things happening:

    They might become irrational. 

    They may make poor choices. 

    Or they’ll probably lash out. 

    They are unable to listen to reason. 

    They have trouble controlling themselves. 

    Frustrating and sad, right?

    It happens because they don’t have the skills they need to calm the emotional brain and bring the “thinking brain’ back online.

    A calming corner aims to calm their brain down and engage the thinking brain once again. In doing so, children regain control of their bodies. Self-regulate their emotions and their minds. 

    At this point, your students will be receptive to any teaching required. Once they are calm, they can learn strategies for coping with the situation. They can discover more appropriate behaviors, and they can listen to what you have to say to them.

    Over time, their brain will become stronger by repeating these activities. Emotional outbursts will lessen as your child learns more effective ways to manage their emotions.

    Calming Spaces For Home:

    If you are using a calming corner area in your home, you should use the space with kids first (especially for younger children). You want to make your calming corner as positive as possible for your child. It should be a warm, inviting, and safe space.

    Whenever you notice your child becoming overwhelmed, take them to the calming corner and sit with them. 

    Explain why you are going to use the area. For example: “I notice you’re feeling a bit upset right now. Let’s head to our calming corner together and see if we can calm our bodies.” 

    Encourage your kids to use the tools, toys, etc. available, and stay with them until they are fully calm and reach their neutral energy level.

    There is no expectation on them to remain in the space for any particular amount of time. We mustn’t rush children through the process of feeling/grieving their emotions. 

    How long will this take? Well, the process and amount of time need look different for every child.

    Note: This also IS NOT the time for kids to apologize for their behavior or explain anything to you. It’s fair to address your kids’ behavior, of course, but not now. Later. Remember, always keep discipline separate from the calming corner.

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 21

    Calming Spaces In The Classroom:

    If you are using a calming corner in the classroom, you should remind students to go there whenever you notice they need it. If you see your students becoming agitated, losing focus, or witness slightly disruptive behavior, go ahead and ask the student if they need to use the calming corner.

    Once they’re there, you can ask them to use a scale to rate how they’re feeling. 

    How big is the feeling?

    Then, ask them to try using one of their calming items in the space (see the best tools and toys below) and re-assess how they feel afterward. 

    Then, repeat this process until their feeling’s strength reaches a sufficient number on your scale (agreeing on a number ahead of time is helpful).

    I’d suggest checking-in with them every 5 minutes until they feel capable of returning to the group. This doesn’t have to take long. Ask a question to check where they are on the scale and then ask if they are ready to rejoin the class. 

    Again, if discipline is needed when returning to the class, keep this separate from the calming corner.

    Over time, with appropriate assistance and coaching from an adult, children will recognize their signs of overwhelm and retreat to the calming corner without reminders. That’s the ultimate goal. The very definition of self-regulation!

    When Should You Use It? (Best Times To Use a Calming Corner)

    Maybe you’ve been using time outs with your children, and you’d like to transition to a calming corner. Or perhaps you’d like to incorporate both techniques into your parenting toolkit. 

    How do you know when to use a calming corner vs. a time out? 

    According to several experts, the following instances are the best times to use a calming corner:

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 22

    When To Use a Calming Corner

    A calming corner is a soothing and inviting space left open for children to enter whenever they feel unsettled or uneasy. Parents need to help children identify the signs their bodies give them to let them know they’re becoming out of control. Things like a clenched jaw, tight fists, shouting, furrowed brows, and throwing things are all signs your child can come to recognize by themselves.

    Use Calming Corners Instead of Time-Outs.

    Without going into the effectiveness or morality of using time-outs, if time-outs don’t work for your child, you should try this instead.

    Often, when kids misbehave, it’s because they are over or under-stimulated. Using this area is not a punishment but a useful tool to help your child regulate their emotions and behaviors. Your child can learn that there are different ways of acting and other methods to channel their energies!

    When SHOULDN’T you use a calming corner?

    A calming corner is not for time-out or discipline. Well, not in the traditional sense anyway. A child who is being disciplined or punished should never go into their calming corner. Kids are NOT in trouble. We don’t use the calming corner so kids can “think about their actions” or make amends with anyone. You should also never separate a student from class and send them to the calming corner for misbehavior. 

    Although their behavior isn’t ideal, this isn’t a disciplinary space. Your children are in this area because they feel overwhelmed by big emotions and need help calm down. This is a massive distinction everyone needs to understand.

    Teach Kids How To Self-Regulate Emotions

    Every home (and classroom) needs a calming corner where children can take themselves to destress and wind down. 

    Using a calming corner is perfect for when your child is angry, upset, anxious, or overwhelmed. Or even when they are having a tantrum or meltdown.

    Watch your child’s body and behavior for signs that they might be overwhelmed and need a break. Those signs may include crying, screaming, hitting themselves or others, or having a meltdown. If you can see that your child struggles to self-regulate, then make a point to validate their feelings and emotions. Afterward, suggest that they enjoy some quiet time in their calming corner. You can also suggest sitting with them and reading a book or blowing bubbles together as a way to invite them into their newfound space.

    Your space should feel welcoming and inviting. However, a calming corner isn’t designed to send your child for a time out or punishment. If you force them to use the space in that way, it’ll negate everything you’re working for.

    We also like to use our calming corner right after school to help the kids wind down after a long day at school (I’ve also designated a specific time of day during times when we homeschool). It’s a great way to avoid the after-school attitudes and meltdowns that rear otherwise.

    Look for “signals.”

    Watch your child’s body and behavior for signs that they might be overwhelmed and need a break. Those signs may include crying, screaming, hitting themselves or others, or having a meltdown. If you can see that your child struggles to self-regulate, then simply validate their feelings and emotions and suggest that they enjoy some quiet time in their calm down corner. You can also suggest sitting with them and reading a book or blowing bubbles together as a way to invite them into their assigned space. 

    Watch your child’s body and behavior for signs that they might be overwhelmed and need a break. Those signs may include crying, screaming, hitting themselves or others, or having a meltdown. If you can see that your child struggles to self-regulate, then simply validate their feelings and emotions and suggest that they enjoy some quiet time in their calm down corner. You can also suggest sitting with them and reading a book or blowing bubbles together as a way to invite them into their assigned space.

    There should also be no expectation that they apologize for their behavior or explain anything to you. By all means, address any inappropriate behavior, but this should happen later. Keep discipline separate from the calm down space.

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 23

    Should You Create a Calming Corner?

    Children typically misbehave because they don’t know how to manage, regulate, and control their behaviors when they’re stressed.

    A calming corner allows for teaching moments so you can help your child develop these skills.

    Benefits of Calming Corners & Why Every Home & Classroom Needs One

    They Help Children Learn from Their Mistakes

    Right out the gate, let me say this: It SO SO important that your child understand that no-one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. They need to know that it’s lovely to make mistakes, and we need to learn from those mistakes.

    Kids must understand that making a mistake might make you feel bad for a little while, but it doesn’t mean that they are bad.

    Understanding this difference will help your kids tolerate unpleasant emotions better. Go ahead and reassure your child that their feelings are normal and valid. Everyone feels them, and they are not alone.

    But, once they’re calm, explain the impact their actions have on others. Understanding how their behavior affects the way other people feel is an essential part of developing emotional intelligence.

    Encourage your child to make things right once they’ve had time to calm down.

    Sometimes, despite your best efforts to express understanding, your child still may get overly riled up. When you realize that your child is getting to that mountain-cliff moment, suggest that the two of you have some “quiet time.” Then, snuggle up, read a book or calm down using any of the calming corner ideas below. Often the connection and the shift to their “thinking brain” will help your child “re-regulate.”

    Now, sometimes your child is too far gone for a book. They lash out, hit someone, or throws themselves on the floor in a fit.

    Before you send your kid off to their room or calming corner (you shouldn’t! Remember?) to “calm-down” don’t. Why? Doing so gives your child the message that their emotions are shameful and not allowed in public. 

    Not exactly the message we want to send across. Instead, you want your child to learn that emotions are a part of being human. And that they are capable of noticing and accepting them. Then, expressing them in a positive, constructive, healthy way.

    Please understand. I know how tough this is to learn and implement. It’s so simple in words and theory. I know this is a tough job to fill. Mostly, many adults (myself included) rarely realize the dysfunction in the ways we express our emotions.

    Society typically shows and tells us that our feelings are unacceptable. Then, we spend a lifetime hiding emotion. We are suppressing our feelings with outlets like food, social media, and more. 

    When we sweep our emotions under the rug, it doesn’t go anywhere. Remember that. It’s still a pile of dust-sh*t waiting to be cleaned up. Your body virtually never regulates and bubbles up at any moment. (Hello, yelling moms. *Sheepishly waves*) 

    Let’s work to heal those emotions and teach our children a better way. 

    Brain Development & Calming Spaces

    Want to teach your child more constructive ways to regulate their emotions? Then, you can start by offering a clear neutral understanding when they show you their big feelings. 

    Give them the message that they’re safe, that you love them even when they’re upset, that you want to help them through this moment. Then, after your children are calmer, support them to solve whatever problem they’re having. This approach is the foundation for your child accepting and then learning to manage their emotions. 

    And that’s the foundation of what we call “EQ” or Emotional Intelligence.

    This approach of soothing your upset child isn’t just psychological learning. It helps your child build the neural circuits to calm themselves more readily. Every time you settle your upset child, her body releases soothing hormones and neurotransmitters, strengthening those self-soothing neural networks. Your child begins to develop a “vagal tone,” which means that the vagus nerve becomes more effective in calming the child’s emotions when they’re upset. 

    That’s the beginning of resilience, the ability to bounce back!

    So every time you soothe your child and help him feel safe and understood, you’re helping him build a brain and nervous system that will allow him to calm himself in the face of upset and adversity — for the rest of his life.

    And — if your focus is, understandably, just on getting through the rest of the day — loving your child through his upset builds trust and strengthens your relationship with your child, so he’s more cooperative.

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 24

    Can Two Children Use a Calming Corner At Once?

    Absolutely! Before you do, though, be sure there are two separate seating areas, like these bean bag chairs or other cozy places, so they don’t fight over who sits where. Then, insist that only “quiet, indoor voices” are used in the calming corner.

    A Perfect Calming Corner

    This is quite important, so I’m mentioning it again. If you send your child or student to this area/space as a discipline tactic, it will feel like rejection to your child.

    No-one child likes or can fully process and comprehend feelings of rejection. Please don’t do it.

    Instead, always go with your child or student, so they develop positive associations to your calming corner. It’s best not to wait until your child is upset. Head to the calming corner for quiet times, so your child/student gets used to this space as a calming, positive space where relaxation happens.

    Likewise, whenever you get upset, model using the calming corner yourself to calm down too! And you can even encourage your child/student to accompany you.

    You’ll notice that once your child gets used to going to the calming corner with you and embracing the one-on-one time in there, they’ll begin to go there by themselves whenever they are upset. 

    Calming Corner Ideas

    Calming corners are brilliant, aren’t they? Now that you’re convinced let me share WHAT I have in my calming corner. With an empathetic child and spirited child, the pieces I’ve compiled into our “calm-down space” is perfect for anyone creating their own. I’ve studied child psychology extensively, and you’ll find that the items in our home (and my classroom) will suit many personalities and sensory needs. 

    Most of these items are on Amazon and Etsy. Quite frankly, when I need something, I want it NOW, lol, and Amazon is the fastest way. On the same note, I LOVE to support small businesses and encourage everyone to consider Etsy for quaint, unique items!

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 25

    Best Things for Calming Corners (What Do I Put In a Calming Corner?)

    Tent

    Pillow

    Blankets

    Sensory toys

    Sensory Bottles

    Soft toys

    Sensory Pillow for Boys

    Sensory Pillow for Girls

    Hard toys

    Bubbles

    Squishy toys

    Ballons

    Stress balls

    Puzzle toys

    Rug

    Printables and posters

    Books

    Coloring book

    Lava lamp

    Ceiling light

    Wall decals

    Calm down cards

    Simple sensory activities/ crafts to calm down

    Music:

    How To Design a Calming Corner

    Colors to use in a calming corner:

    When designing your calming corner, you’ll want to keep colors in mind. It’s best to use colors scientifically known to relax our nervous system and brain instead of colors such as red and orange that heighten our emotions and create an opposite effect of what you’re trying to attain. Here are some ideas of the most relaxing colors for your calming corner:

    Blue: Any shade of blue works here

    Green: Same applies here.

    Soft pink

    Violet

    Grey

    Yellow: Use sparingly. 

    Any neutral color 

    One easy note to remember is that soft, pastel colors will create the most relaxing atmosphere for your calming corner instead of bright, vivid, or neon shades and hues. 

    Beautiful Calming Corner Posters and Printables 

    growth mindset kids coloring
    Click here to get yours FREE!

    Calming Techniques & Strategies 

    Effective Coping Strategies for Kids

    Hand-Breaths

    Meditation

    Deep/Box Breathing

    Music

    Yoga

    Exercise

    Shower

    Blow Bubbles

    Calming Essential Oils Blends for Kids 

    First, let’s talk safety. It doesn’t matter how “natural” something is. When misused, it has consequences and is dangerous. Yes, essential oils can be hazardous. Generally speaking, most children, age six and older, can use most essential oils. Every age has different recommendations (mostly children under 6.) 

    This is a great “safe essential oil guide” for kids.

    Beyond that, anytime you use essential oils with your kids, you always want to watch for ANY and ALL side-effects (good or bad). Was it helpful? How did they respond? Did they develop a cough when you started using them (think- younger kids, particularly with respiratory weaknesses or sensitivities).  

    Always speak to your physician, doctor, etc., before, during, or after use. Always read the recommendation on the bottle. For example, some essential oils need dilution by being added to a carrier oil (like almond, coconut, or olive oil). 

    Most essential oil producers create ready to use child-friendly versions that already diluted for you!

    Essential oils, when produced honestly, should be the natural oil from the plant or flower. That’s it: no other fillers, chemicals, or hidden junk. 

    But, essential oils in the U.S.A. fall under the “beauty product” category and, therefore, aren’t regulated. What does this mean? This means that ANY company can say their essential oils are 100% pure or therapeutic. (yup, even when they are not!)

    If you see a $3 bottle of lavender oil next to the $1 knock-off Tylenol, it’s a safe bet that it isn’t pure essential oil. 

    It’s so important to do your research and buy from reputable companies that you trust. These are companies that I’ve used or trust because of their transparency. (This means they show reports of what is actually in their oils and the process etc.)

    1. Plant therapy
    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 26
    1. DoTerra
    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 26
    1. Young Living
    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 26
    1. Beeyoutiful
    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 26
    1. Rocky Mountain Oils
    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 26
    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 31

    Calming Essential Oils Blends for Kids Recipe

    1. Patchouli
    2. Spearmint
    3. Neroli 
    4. Lavender 
    5. Rose
    6. Bergamot
    7. Ylang ylang
    8. Lemon
    9. Chamomile
    10. Vetiver

    This is not a be-all, end-all list of calming essential oils. There are millions of articles on the internet with a ton of info that I won’t cover here today. I will mention again that you should always consult your doctor before using oils on or around children in any way.

    I always diffuse several drops of: 

    1. Vetiver
    2. Orange
    3. Lavender
    4. Grapefruit
    5. Spearmint

    Depending on the emotions and energy in the room, I use more of some than others. But, I consistently come back to these essential oils when I’m looking to calm the kids down. 

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 32

    There you have it! Everything you need to about calming corners and how to create one in your home or classroom! I hope you have a ton of fun creating this space and if you can, I encourage you to get your kids or students involved in the design process too! I’d love to see your spaces, so feel free to share them!

    How to Create a Kids Calming Corner at Home (or in the classroom!) 33

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