Having a designated quiet room allows a child to choose to take time out to be still and quiet. Why is this important?
- It gives the child a chance to refresh their mind and body, which is especially important if they no longer nap.
- It may help your child focus and concentrate.
- Your child may develop an understanding of their own need to stop and relax for a while.
- It may help your child build skills in managing stress and other big feelings
- It may help prevent over stimulation (which can lead to meltdowns and tantrums) from a busy household with other children, a new baby, or other noisy activities.
- It gives your child a special space just for them, which may help with self esteem and building inner confidence.
- It provides an opportunity for your child to think and reflect upon his or her day, developing self awareness and promoting positive behaviour.
The room should:
- be safe!!
- be calming
- not be too stimulating
- appeal to your child’s likes and interests
- be away or closed off from noise and bustle
- Keep it minimal; too much stuff will clutter the space; which is not conducive to a relaxing environment.
- Use calming music or quiet audiobooks playing, perhaps on an ipod which you can teach your child how to turn on and off easily. If you child is very easily over stimulated complete quiet may work better.
- Use low lights; we use fairy lights strung on the ceiling; Jake knows how to turn them off if he prefers darkness, or to use his light toys… You could also use a mood light or lava lamp to encourage relaxation.
- Include a few sensory toys; for example we have a basket of light toys (glow stick, flashing balls, star projector), a small basket of fiddly toys (busy hands quiet the mind), some homemade stress balls, a glitter bottle (shake and watch the glitter settle), and a small tray of mini books. This might be too much for your child – try just one basket with 1 book, 1 light toy and a stress ball.
- Make it cozy; set out some pillows, a bean bag and/or blankets to encourage your child to sit or lie down comfortably. A favourite teddy or other comforter may be useful too.
- Include anything else that you know your child would respond well to, for example we also have a poster on the wall with lots of different faces on (happy, sad, loving, angry, etc) which Jake likes to ponder over.
Does your child have a quiet space?
Katherine has a background in special education, early years childcare, and has a BA and MA in the creative and performing arts. She blogs at Creative Playhouse about her children’s activities and interests, runs an online community of Mums in Jersey, and is a stay at home mum to Jake (2.5) and Poppy (3 months).