Have you ever had one of those moments where you just needed to take a step back and go somewhere to calm down? As adults we hopefully know when to walk away and regroup. Our children on the other hand do not. When our children get frustrated and don’t know what to do they often have huge break downs. One very important tool in calming down is taking a moment to ourselves. To explain this to children I call this their “Safe Space”.
A safe space is a place where they feel comfortable and can be alone to think and calm down by themselves. In my classroom I had a shared safe space; a specific desk which was covered with the children’s artwork. In your home a child’s safe space should be their favorite spot, a place where they feel happy and can calm down. It is very important children know that going to their safe space is not a punishment. It is only used to help them relax and reflect.
I have found that using this technique has almost always had a positive outcome (as long as it is not seen as a punishment). Bringing safe space into my house has been a great experience. When my four year old began to have issues controlling her anger I introduced the idea, explaining that even I had somewhere that I would go to calm down when I get upset. I then read her the book When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry, by Molly Bang. In this book Sophie has a fit and goes to a place where she can calm down. By reading this book children learn to understand that anger is normal and that there are ways to calm down.
We discussed different ways to calm down, what tools we can use and then we focused on finding a space in our house that she could use as her very own “safe space”. She chose a spot in her room that is closed in like a pink castle with pillows and her dolls. At first I had to prompt her to go to her safe space when she got upset, but after a couple weeks of using safe space she asked to go there on her own.
It is important to allow our children the time and space to process their anger and find a way to calm themselves down. By creating a safe space with your children they will be given the opportunity to find their very own way to gain perspective and stop having fits. To this day I use safe space as a way to calm myself down, by giving this tool to your children you are teaching them an important life skill to deal with anger or frustration for the duration of their lives.
Written By Nicole Rowley