Sunday, 19 April 2015
A Peace Corner - To Encourage Children to Talk About Feelings
Negative feelings are a difficult thing to manage with young children, especially with those who are unable to verbalise or rationalise them yet. Over recent months we've witnessed heightened emotions spread like fire through the house, leaving us all exhausted and frazzled by the end of the day. Our family has been through a period of change these last few months - an international move, residing at a number of addresses before choosing our temporary home, introducing my eldest son to preschool, getting used to the cold weather, layers of clothing, stairs, people who speak English with a different accent and family members who visit on a regular basis. It has been a turbulent time for the children and has given rise to some negative emotions and inappropriate behaviour.
I wanted to encourage the children to recognise their emotions, talk about them (before acting on them) and recognise those feelings in others. I decided to create a "Peace Corner" - (ambitious, I know!) an area in the children's bedroom that a child can retreat to when he needs to calm down or restore some inner equilibrium.
What we used:
A Sheepskin Rug - I wanted to create a place of comfort and warmth so the "Peace Corner" was built around a sheepskin rug
A Hideaway - it is sometimes difficult to be alone when you have another sibling with whom you share a room, so I created a hideaway using saree cloth
A Mirror - to identify facial expressions associated with certain emotions
A Mood Light - to create a cosy atmosphere
Blank Faces - for the children to draw out their feelings
Calm Down Jars - a visual sensory item to encourage balance (I followed the first recipe from this website).
Chewing Toys - my 23 month old uses chewing as a way to calm himself (we purchased these toys from here).
Lavender-scented Toy - this cuddly toy can be warmed up in the microwave and gives off a lavender scent. He comes out when a child is upset to offer warm hugs.
Calm Down Cards - a collection of cards that inspire, comfort and remind us of God's love
Family Photos - a reminder of happy memories with the family
Music - my children enjoy classical and Eastern music which I play on the iPad and then sit the iPad on top of the wardrobe so that they can hear the music without getting distracted by the device.
Creating an environment that encourages calm and reflection is just a part of helping children manage overwhelming emotions. It recognises the need for a change of scene, sometimes separation from others and an environment that positively acknowledges feelings. In addition to our Peace Corner we went through some exercises which helped the children label their feelings, which I will post about in due course.