Monday, March 5, 2012

Kid-Friendly Spaces in Our Home

Recently, I worked on a few small changes to our living spaces to make them better fit our needs, especially the kids' needs.

First off, I set up a snack cabinet. So often the kids are begging for snacks when I am trying to do something else. They can frustrated because I cannot respond quickly, and I get frustrated because I get interrupted. Of course, they are fully capable of getting their own snacks if I set up the environment for them. The snack cabinet is filled with healthy snacks that they can have pretty much whenever.
 We will be adding a green/red sign on the front that indicates when the snack cabinet is 'open' or 'closed' so they aren't snacking when dinner is going to be served in just a few minutes. They are able to see their options and make their own decision. It eliminates whining and frustration from both them and me!  I will also be adding a shelf in the fridge for items that need to stay cold.This fits in with what they are used to at the Montessori school they attend. I love to hear my 3 year old proudly say that he would like some water and emphatically that can do it "all by myyyyy self".
Water pitcher and glasses so they can help themselves
Next up, we created a peace corner. This is also something they have at school. We've had various items that help us feel more peaceful when we are stressed, upset, or angry, but we never had a good place for them to live. In the corner of our living room, we now have an official peace corner.
Peace Corner
The boys have their chairs and blankets. We also have a small table. There are peace stones they painted last summer, a calm down jar that we made, and a peace rose that their teachers gave all the kids at Christmas time. They have a peace rose at school that they offer when they are upset with someone to foster the resolution of conflict. The calm down jar is filled with glitter so that you can shake it up and watch the glitter swirl and settle. This allows helpful time to calm our bodies and quiet our mind. I actually really like to use it myself!

There is a basket under the table housing a few more calm down items. Here we have stress balloons that we made. We had so much fun making these. We made homemade playdough and then stuffed our balloons. It was tricky but a lot of fun. We love the finished product!

We also have Rescue Remedy, Tranquil Young Living Oil, and another calm down jar in that basket.
Combined with some books about feelings and making choices (we particularly like Tiger, Tiger Is it True?) in a basket, this completes our peace corner. It is a place we all go sometimes when we're feeling good and sometimes we're frustrated. We don't send kids to the peace corner, but sometimes we remind them it's there in case they'd like to use it when they are feeling angry or frustrated. This is one of the things we do in place of time-outs in our house. We try to offer tools to help each other cope with big feelings and less than ideal behavior. This goes for kids and adults alike.

The last spot in our home that we adapted was a more functional space for art. Art supplies had been hard to reach and the table was often covered in other toys. We now set up a place where crayons, markers, paper, and coloring books are always available. I also just got some new bins where I'll be able to put stickers, stamps, glue, and scissors so they are also always available whenever the creative urge may strike. This is also used sometimes instead of our peace corner because we all find coloring and drawing very calming.

Don't mind the balloons, the kids are on a balloon kick lately. The books, paper, and other supplies are housed on the bottom shelf of the bookshelf easily accessible to both boys. I am really enjoying our space being more inviting and peaceful. Of course, it's not like we are sitting and meditating all day long! I have two loud and busy boys, but it is nice for us all to be able to calm ourselves more easily when we feel overwhelmed.


  1. I need to do something like that for snacks! the kids are always bugging me for snacks.

  2. I love the snack cabinet also, I think you inspired me to do something similar as Richie is always snacking and asking...sometimes he ends up taking something that he is not supposed to without asking first and it drives me nuts. Also like the peace corner but I have no idea if that would work with Rich when he acts up to remind him of a space for him. I often tell him to come with me so we can sit together and talk and he fights me on that. Hmmm, I guess I can try, right?

  3. Hilary - Let me clarify the peace corner thing. It's not like they go there whenever they are upset. But it's there and it's used as a tool. It's not a discipline thing. So our reminding them of it is just reminding them that it's an option if they think that would help. This isn't neccesarily when they do something wrong, but when they are frustrated, upset, stressed, bothered by an incident with us or each other or whatever it may be. It's more of giving one more tool to help them manage their emotions. And like I said, we use it too! When I get really angry and find myself yelling when I don't want to be, I'll go sit there quietly. It helps, and it also helps model for them how to come down.

  4. I want to copy every single idea!! I thnk I will.
    I only have one child, but this is all so great.
    I did put out a big basket of anytime snacks for her. I have to constantly update my own awareness of what she's ready for. It's wonderful and so important for them to have these spaces and tools. You're brilliant. THanks for sharing it.

  5. Got it. I like that idea of it being used as a tool. We all need a peace corner. I do take mommy time outs but it's never in a nice peace corner...more like my bathroom. Nice, huh? I'm inspired to try this out and see if it helps Rich learn to calm himself down.


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