Back in the day, I used calm-down corners, cool-down spots, and get-under-control squares.
I thought they’d help. I mean “calm down” was in the name for goodness sake!
What I didn’t realize is that these techniques and tools teach our kids to stop feeling their emotions.
That’s not our goal.
Our goal is to help them feel and regulate their emotions in a safe and healthy way.
When our kids are young they aren’t able to do this on their own.
They learn to regulate their emotion by first co-regulating their emotions with us.
When our kids get their learner’s permit for driving a car, we don’t expect them to do it on their own.
In the beginning, we help them and direct them before they become independent drivers.
Authentic self-regulation is a natural result of co-regulation.
We model and show them what it looks like to stay calm and steady when things get stormy.
When we put a child in time-out or tell them to calm down it’s like expecting them to drive before they’re ready. It’s too much too soon.
Some emotions are too big for them to handle on their own. Even adults can have a hard time self-regulating when things get heated.
We expect our children to use breathing techniques or other calming strategies which are more likely to be successful with a fully developed adult brain.
Our children need our help learning how to experience emotions.
Let’s flip the script on this.
Let’s reconsider these calm-down strategies and come alongside our children and help them learn to fully feel and experience their emotions.
The best way for them to learn to regulate their emotions is by having TIME WITH US!