Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Quiet Corner

My parenting has changed over the years. I still struggle with my temper, but it has gotten better and I'm always trying to prevent myself from overreacting and from being selfish. Selfishness is probably the leading cause of Bad Parenting Moments in my daily life. It's a work in progress.

One of my old go-to disciplinary techniques was the "naughty step." It never really worked all that well, and ended up being a battle of wills with my incredibly strong-willed children.

I don't believe in spanking/smacking/hitting and don't feel it does anything positive for the child or my relationship with that child.

Grounding, taking things away, threatening... sigh. I've done these, and still do them. I don't think they work, long term. I hate threatening to take a privilege away if they don't behave in a prescribed manner. I am trying to stop this method, but I don't think I'll be able to cut it out entirely - motivation is a powerful driving force with my kids, and it's very easy to use that to my advantage as a parent.

What I want and prefer is to instill a level of inner wisdom and discipline in my children.

I want them to be able to step away from a heated situation before violence or mean words erupt.

I want them to follow the (few) house rules because they appreciate living in a tidy, clean home, and realise that we are all in it together.

I want them to perform necessary tasks even if they aren't fun to do, because the work needs to be done.

I want my kids to grow into adults with a strong work ethic, an inner conscience, and a love for their fellow human beings on this earth.

Unfortunately, we all struggle with our temper in this house. I tend to blame myself, because although I am mellowing out over time, the kids have all seen me blow my top many times and they have copied that behaviour. Ugh. They absolutely HATE being sent to their rooms when they are in freak-out mode, to the point of me having to physically move them there (which is a bad, bad scenario), so frog-marching them to their rooms to "cool off" just doesn't help matters.

When I came across this blog post on teaching a child to find his/her center when feeling upset or out of sorts, it really resonated with me. It is a way of helping children find their own way of calming down and relaxing. It even has a meditative feel to it, which appeals to me as well.

So I did some online shopping, and came up with these items for our own special corner of the house, called the Quiet Corner.

Firstly, noise cancellation headphones. These aren't anything fancy, and probably won't work like the mega-bucks ones, but I'm hoping it will give a slight listening-to-the-ocean-in-a-seashell effect and help soothe and calm a wound-up child.

I could have gotten a sand timer, but this gloopy one is just cooler. I can imagine one of the kids zoning out, watching the blobs roll down the slope and glooping down into the blue stuff at the bottom. Neat, right?

There's also the advantage of timing their stay in the Quiet Corner in case it all gets too exciting and other kids are waiting to enter.

Mood lighting. This little egg light slowly changes colours over a few minutes, and is hand-held. The soft glow and bright colours are sure to be interesting and calming.

Something for the senses. This little toy can be moved and manipulated into different shapes, and the rubber grips are bumpy, smooth, knobbly and lumpy. It will be a small addition to interest and distract.

Quiet Corner signage. Rules of the corner include:

1 person at a time
2 minute stay, but longer if there isn't a queue
all items in the Quiet Corner stay there

In use! There is some shiny gold fabric hanging from the walls to make it a bit more special. Behind the fabric is a string of lights wrapped around some willow sticks I bought as a Christmas decoration several years ago. Being behind the fabric makes the lights glow nicely. I also have a folded quilt on the floor, a small cushion to lean against, and books in a wicker basket. All the other items I bought will go in there, once they arrive!

I'm really happy with it so far. The fabric was a pain to hang up, but I am terrible with hanging things on walls anyway and usually resort to blue-tack or tape. I tapped a few tiny nails in the wall and hung the fabric from them, but some of the plaster chipped away while I did it. Annoying! That is going to take a lot to fix up when we come to move someday.

The Quiet Corner might not last very long. I don't know if it will still be in use when the newness wears off, but I'm hopeful. I have a toddler that needs to learn how to cope with strong emotions and I think this will help a lot.


Mandy Court said...

Interesting. I like it and May have to create one of my own.

Jenn said...

I think the motivation to back off and cool down is something that needs to be understood and nurtured more here. Both M and J will back off if they get stressed, but often they do it in a slamming out / storming off way. If we (I) can manage to recognise their need for solitude, and they can back off without throwing / shouting / breaking things, then hopefully we can be in a better place :) I'm working on the anger thing too - but I feel like I am the only one in the house who is . . . I really find that taking a too-deep breath before answering or responding means I am far less likely to loose it. Onwards and upwards I gues :)

Raisin4Cookies said...

Mandy - it's quite a fun little project! I hope you find something that works for your family.

Jenn - I know what you mean about trying to step in before explosions occur; it's a tricky thing to manage. Sometimes there are too many variables involved. I will have to try the deep breathing.

Emily Plank said...

Love it!!! Thanks for linking to me in your article. Children are often scared by the strength of their emotions, and when we give them tools to remain in control, they feel powerful. What a gift you are giving your children. Best! Emily

Selwyn said...

I want a quiet corner now for ME!

I'm Kel (from Segullah) and just popped over to have a squiz at your blog (love the background!) and thank you for commenting on my bookshelf post.

As for quieting ideas, have you seen this one:

I do like your blog!

Raisin4Cookies said...

Emily - your blog has really sparked a lot of ideas in me and I appreciate the work you've put into it. Thanks for stopping by!

Kel - thanks for the link! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the compliments as well. I am blissfully happy about my blog background, which was put together by an internet friend of mine at .

All the best. xx

Emma-Jane said...

Love the sensory items and especially the timer? Where can I get one of those?! I'd love to create a similar space in my house, only there are no unused corners at the moment, but definitely something to think about!

Raisin4Cookies said...

I got everything from Amazon! I think if you search for gel timer or even sand timer, you'll probably find it.

Good luck making a space for your kids! Maybe even behind the couch would work for you?

corner shelving unit said...

Great idea... love it!