Like I said at the end of our last blog, no matter how scheduled your day is and how appropriate your spaces are for each activity there will always be times of chaos. Maybe a child isn’t feeling well, or is just frustrated. Maybe you need a moment to calm yourself down and they need a spot to hang while you re-coop… Whatever the reason a comforting space is needed in every home, daycare, school, etc. So, today I thought I’d encourage you to create one more place-in-your-space, for a calm-down-corner. This space can be their bed with their favorite blanket to snuggle, a bean-bag-chair with books nearby, or a lil’ tent with filled with stuffed animals. What ideas do you have for a quiet-space? Share them with us. Here are some ideas we like:
If a child is going to use such spaces for relaxing it would not work as intended in a high traffic area. Whether you are a parent, teacher, caregiver … you need to consider if the flow of the environment works the purpose the space is used. If the space you are working with is small consider at least separating the quiet corner from the play area with furniture. Sometime function is more important than appearance if your goal is redesigning for calm. Here are some example floor plans for flow design:
Now – where are you in the environmental flow? Do you let kids explore freely or participate every minute with them through structured activities? Are you flexible creating times to engage yet other times to stand back? Parents/providers impact the flow so consider where you are in the big picture and how your role plays in the chaos to calm factor. Consider your temperament. Are you asking them to be calm when you are stressed or feeling rushed throughout the day? Kids feel that and act accordingly. So here is your homework… a few blogs back I posted a behavior chart for kids, now I want you to log your behaviors & / or moods. If you feel like “that was a chaotic moment” write down what was going on before times got tough -how you were feeling/acting – then write down how you reacted to the chaos. You might be surprised comparing the kid behavior charts with your own and see a pattern of how you contribute to how the environment vibe. You might want to even start writing down when you have those “wow, it’s a calm moment” thoughts – where you are in the space, what activities are being enjoyed, how you are talking and feeling… If you can’t stop all chaotic moments from occurring you might at least find ways to bring them back to calm.
After changing up the environment and comparing your behavior logs with kid observations you should be able to enjoy a peaceful place in space. Chaos might return some days and that’s when you pull out the logs again and reassess what changes need to be made. Maybe a space needs to be redesigned because the kids are growing and going through different stages and use the space differently now… Maybe it’s because activities and schedules and rules need to be redefined… As time moves on so will the issues you face with the kids in your care – how you prepare them for changing times will be discussed next week… and speaking of changing times – Don’t forget to SPRING AHEAD your clocks this weekend :