Last week I talked about teaching your children with a "Calm Spot" rather than a "Naughty Chair." I promised this week to detail how you use a Calm Spot... so no pictures today, just concrete info.
How do you use a Calm Spot?
When a child begins to seem out of control, you use a very calm, matter-if-fact tone and ask them if s/he would like to use their Calm Spot for a few minutes.
If s/he does great. When s/he comes back, ask "Did your Calm Spot help?" "Are your ready to xxx now?" and praise them for using their calm spot!!
If they choose not to go to their calm spot, say something like "That's fine. If you can calm down by yourself, great. But if you change your mind, go ahead and use your calm spot if you need to."
If they calm down... celebrate their success. If they don't after a bit, or if things escalate, then explain that you insist that they go to their Calm Spot for a few minutes to get back in control of their feelings. Still stay calm. Still be matter-of-fact rather than punitive. Re-state, when you pick him up and move her to a quiet spot, that it's because you understand s/he needs some time and space to calm down. You are helping them. Do not give the impression that it is a punishment. If your attitude or words are punitive, they will view it as punishment. It is up to you to always treat it as an opportunity for them to regain the control they need. The message they get is that you believe they can control their feelings, given the time, space, and support they need. A powerful message.
P.S. Sometimes when they have done something that really upsets me, I will tell them [often as I help them to their Calm Spot] thatI need to calm down too. That I am going to MY Calm Spot. I go to a quiet place in the house [assuming I can find one!] and do something to calm myself, whether calling a friend, reading a meditation, listening to music, etc.
Everyone needs a Calm Spot.
Next Thursday: What stuff can you use in a calm spot to help achieve calm?
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.