As I am mentally preparing to head back up the mountain with my middle son James, I spent the week making a "Calm Down Corner". There were a few reasons behind having this corner. First, I'm trying to develop a positive parenting approach with James to help with his underlying attachment issues. Spending so much time focusing on everything he is doing wrong and being upset with him is not helping either of us with bonding and increasing self image. We had been using the typical "Time-Out" with him, but it never resulted in any changed behavior. Instead his anxiety increased exponentially and it turned into a battle of wills. If I am trying to teach him to change his behavior I need to focus on his anxiety first. Then we can focus on the actual behavior. Which brings me to the calm down corner. We are working on a variety of strategies he can use when he gets upset or anxious. I have placed these in the calm down corner with the hope that he will be reminded to utilize these skills to get himself back under control. Once everyone has calmed down then we can discuss the behavior, what he can do differently next time, and then coming up with a way to repair any damage to relationships he may have done.
Here is the "Calm Down" Corner side. It is located on the landing of our stair case. This wall contains the calm down strategies and the other wall is out "Command Center".
Here are larger print outs of the Relaxation Books I have talked about previously. There are eight relaxation techniques that are kid friendly. James really likes the Lemon one where you pretend to squeeze lemons with your hands for ten seconds. Next to that I have a print out of a rose/candle to practice deep breathing. I have the boys pretend to smell a flower through their nose and then blow out the candle through their mouth when we are "breathing". Behind that is a printable to keep track of taking 5 breaths in the shape of a star. I cant find the link for that one, but will add it if I come across it again!
Here are a smaller version of the relaxation cards that we can grab and take with us outside or to the store.
The other wall has our command center, basically everything important goes over here!
Our bulletin board has the weekly menu's and calendar of appointments. I also have an individual behavior sheet that is used when someone is working on something individually. Underneath the board we have what we are praying for this week, I have six categories (Family, School, Church, Friends, Country, Other Countries). We rotate pictures and pray for different people in each category. The "Friends" Category includes not only neighborhood/school friends but I have also laminated pictures and descriptions of kids we have received from Compassion International, so we will pray for them as well. The Blue Schedule on the side was something I had picked up from the dollar store. I keep James and Joel's afternoon schedule there since that is when we have the most issues. It includes picture cards for the activities. The white board above is Matthew's board. It lists his chore for the day on the top. Then there is a checklist for morning and a checklist for afternoon things that need to be done. This has really helped, instead of me nagging him about making his lunch or putting away his coat, I just ask him if he's completed the list! Its helped eliminate some control battles as it is no loner me telling him what to do.