Creating a Peaceful Spot for Kids


Do your kids have big emotions and struggle to calm themselves? Maybe it’s the enneagram 4 in me that believes all feelings are meant to be felt, but I think it’s important to teach children about emotions.

They need to learn names for different emotions, that it is okay to feel them, and ways to manage them when they become too big or problematic.

My children were struggling to calm themselves without me. While I love knowing I can help calm them, I am not always available. Two of my kids are in school, and I can’t show up to school and let them sit on my lap until they calm down. It’s just not an option. So I wanted to teach them coping skills to calm themselves.

On a particularly hard day with lots of big emotions between the kids and me, I felt desperate to find solutions.

Creating a Peaceful Spot

I included the kids in the process. I started by asking them (when they were all calm and happy) what kind of things we could have if we created a “peaceful spot.” They answered with soft blankets and squishy toys. We found a bean bag, weighted blanket, and a basket of their favorite squishy toys. My boys are particularly drawn to Heroes of Goo Jit Zu toys but pop its and textile toys they can manipulate with their hands are other options.

Then we pull out the Little Spot books by Diane Alber our pediatrician recommended. We read and talk about different emotions and ways to calm them when they get too big. The author also provides some free printable resources to those who buy the books, so I printed out signs on calming angry, sad, and anxious emotions.

We also created a game with her movement flashcards from the book A Little Calm Spot to move and stretch our bodies when the feelings seem out of our control. It helps brings our minds back to our bodies and the space around us.

Teaching Them to Use It

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Kids still need to be taught how to use these new tools. When the kids get upset, I suggest going to the peaceful spot with me. I sit with them and offer some of the calm down toys and books. I try to demonstrate the skills I want them to use on their own someday.

Once they calm a little, we often try some of the yoga moves on our flashcards. It helps to get moving again and focus on our bodies. Creating this space and spending time teaching them how to use it helps them recognize their different emotions and appropriate ways of calming them.

After they are calm, I like to talk to them about what things helped calm them and how we can use those again next time. My hope is that even if they are at school or away from their peaceful spot, they will remember and use some of the tools that helped them calm down.

Not Just a Space for Calming Down

As an adult, sometimes I just need a quiet space where I can be alone to recharge. We named it a “peaceful spot.” I don’t want them to just go there when they need to calm down. I also talk to them about using it any time they need some quiet or alone time.

Managing kid’s emotions can be exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I’m just in survival mode. But in the calm moments, I try to continue to teach and talk about emotions and how to calm them in hopes that they will learn to use some of the tools on their own. 

What tools have you found that help your child manage big emotions?

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Betsy is a stay at home mom to two handsome, energetic boys and a sweet baby girl. Most days are spent chasing after little boys, reading books, and playing superheroes, but she loves spending any extra time she can painting, cooking, writing, listening to music or audiobooks, or being outside. After years of infertility and now as a mom through both adoption and IVF, Betsy loves connecting with, supporting, and advocating for those on their own personal journey with infertility or adoption. Follow her family’s story and connect with her on Instagram @betsydearnoone.


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