Does anyone have a ‘Balance Center’ in their classroom, program or home?
A wonderful idea for a program, classroom, or home with children is to include a “Balance Center.” It’s a “quiet and safe” area set aside for times a child feels angry, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc.
When working with (or having) children, one goal is for children to learn how to cope and manage feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment.
Often when children are a challenge, our reaction is to place them in time out–or to punish in some way. Using this tool is not for punishment, but a place for the child to regain control. At times a child may be directed to this spot–but the goal is for children to visit this area when needed.
When children loose control and are directed to this spot, once they “cool down,” it would then be time to “talk” about the problem at hand. If a child is frustrated and visits on his own–then hooray! He’s learning… The center itself however, is a “safe place” to aid children in keeping or regaining balance of feelings and emotions.
WHERE AND WHAT DO YOU PUT IN THE CENTER?
In a program or classroom, it can be tucked away in a corner or also used as your “quiet area”.
- In a home, find and choose a place with your child. Explain to them that when they are feeling tired, crabby, etc.– to come to this “safe place” to recoup.
- Place large pillows and bean bag chairs. At the child’s visual level, hang some posters/pictures that are calming, soothing–maybe an “Emotion Face” Poster.
- Place a basket with books (for young children use cloth and heavy board books), calming music with head phones, and a box filled with sensory items. Articles that are soft and squeezable, kooshy, textured, prickly, etc. are excellent!
- Also nice: a music box, mirror with handle, a snow globe, a rain stick, an etch-a sketch, and pad of paper and crayons. Anything that can be relaxing works well.
Decide with the children what to call this area.
Ideas are: Balance Center, Safe Place, Feel Good Place, Quiet Area, Happy Place, etc. Let them name it! It’s a good place to be–NOT a place of punishment. Who wants to be good, when they don’t feel good?