Sometimes children, in general, need a place to calm down that feels safe and supportive. While some things differ for each child, behaviorally speaking it’s important to make sure the space includes and does not include certain things. Below are 3 ways to create a break or calm space:
- Choose an area that is naturally calming for the child: Providing an area such as a tent, bed, couch, or area that the child naturally gravitates to but is not reinforcing in itself is beneficial for creating a positive space.
- Do not include reinforcers: Including toys in the space can be confusing for the child and interfere with their ability to calm down. Limiting items in the space can help your child gain coping skills to be able to utilize lifelong and will reduce the place being reinforcing so that the child engages in behaviors to enter the space
- Include designated time in space: Allow the child to pick the space whenever they feel it is needed but give the child 2-5 minutes at the calm space at a time so that they are not escaping the task presented or the environment that is aversive completely.
While a calm space is important, providing a break in an appropriate way that minimizes behaviors and the amount of breaks while encouraging the child to regulate and maintain in the environment longer is vital for the child as they age. Implementing the steps above will help you and your child gain confidence, communication and decrease the dysregulation depending on the function of the behavior.