Our Calming Corners: Mindfulness & Calming Strategies for a 4- and 6-year-old

We have never used “time outs” and are no strangers to Generation Mindful‘s Time-In method of teaching mindfulness and calming strategies to young children. In fact, we’ve been using their original Time-In Toolkit for almost 3 years now!

When we moved, a lot of our original posters became damaged and so we just had the bare bones of it for a while. So when Generation Mindful offered to send me their new Ready-to-Hang Time-In Toolkit, I quickly agreed!

While a Calming Corner is not new for my girls, the way they each use it has definitely evolved over the years. At our old house, our Calming Corner was shared and placed in a corner of the downstairs so that they could both use it. Now, they prefer more privacy when dealing with big feelings — so they each have their own Calming Corners in their rooms. The Ready-to-Hang Time-In Toolkit had more than enough inside it to spread between two rooms, and I think the parts in each are perfect for each girl’s different age, ability, and needs.

Nora is just 4 and a half, so she has a more picture-focused Calming Corner. We hung up the “My Calming Corner” sign along with the posters for My Feelings, Calming Strategies, and Calming Down with her personalized toolkit. We also hung up the My Feelings Calendar so she can track her feelings over a month to see if there are any patterns. Nora especially loves the “hug a stuffed animal” calming strategy, especially with her new SnuggleBuddy [included in the Ready-to-Hang Time-In Toolkit Basic Bundle]!

Nora needs some movement and hands-on activities in her Toolkit, so this is what her box of Calming Strategies looks like:

When Nora is having a hard time, we suggest that she go to her Calming Corner so she can choose a calming strategy. It has become such a safe place that is full of comfort for her that she never says no!

At 6 and a half, Lila’s Calming Corner is more project-based. She has one poster — the How Do I Feel? page with the basic emotions along with several that fit in each category — as well as the What Can I Do? Game and Cards for working through the whole process. When she’s experiencing big feelings, she chooses a card to describe how she feels, then picks a couple of calming strategies that might help. Then she picks another card to describe how she feels after using the calming strategy, and decides if she feels any better.

Lila’s toolkit is filled with a lot of ways to write down her thoughts and feelings — this is something she chose to include here because she has noticed by now that it is a key calming strategy that works for her to get through difficult situations. I love that she noticed that by herself! Here’s what’s in her Calming Corner bin:

But that’s not all that we’ve done with our Ready-to-Hang Time-In Toolkit! We’re just about to start school here — homeschool preschool for Nora and distance learning for Lila. We’ll be hanging the PeaceMakers Activity Mat in our homeschool room to use with the PeaceMakers cards each morning before we start to work, as well as in the middle if we need a break. Check back in my stories to see it in action!

As I mentioned before, we’ve been using Generation Mindful‘s Time-In Toolkit for years now — and it just became so much easier with the Ready-to-Hang version! I highly recommend this program for the whole family (or classroom!) as a method of teaching co-regulation and self-regulation for children of varying ages.