Creating a Place for Peace in the Home

Even as a little girl (she started the terrible twos at 18 months), my daughter, has always been very strong willed and considers herself the Queen of the World, so you can imagine it can be very frustrating when things don’t go exactly the way she pictures it happening in her head.    So, you might say she is a bit…  No, more like OVERLY emotionally sensitive.  Anger or sadness sets in like stone, and resists outside chiseling.  Her psyche requires Peace to come from within herself.  Time alone is good for that, but she has never been sent to “Time Out” as a punishment.  I have a strong belief that providing instruction on better options is far more effective than doling out punishment.

I know the following might sound kind of crazy, but it was a FACT that she wouldn’t let ME soothe her.  Special attention and empathy from me during her crisis moments did NOT bring her peace.   My little drama queen got louder and more distraught if she noticed attention was being given to these behaviors.   This little tactic did not help MY PEACE level at all, and I realized at some point we each needed our time apart to calm down.

I wasn’t familiar with Peace Corners back then, but when she (or I) became upset beyond the point of reason, I would point out, “You are more than welcome to be upset… IN YOUR ROOM.  I don’t want to hear it out here.”   And I would help guide her to her room.  “In here you can just sit on your floor and be upset, or you can choose to play with some of your things.  When you calm down, you can come back out.”  At first, I would have to help her back to her room if she came out and was still throwing a fit.  AND I learned that instead of trying to hand her something to distract her (which she would knock out of my hands), I would place engaging objects (esp. books, or little animals that the legs or arms could be moved) nearby, on the floor, or on the bed, just out of reach, and just leave her to cry.  Soon, one of those objects would strike her curiosity enough to pull her out of her funk.  And I had to learn to give her enough time to get past those strong emotions.  If I interrupted her process, it was likely to start all over again.  I also began to realize if I put on some classical music in the home as background noise, it helped the process proceed more quickly.  Over the years (and through some Becky Bailey training), I have realized better words, and methods, to use in the process of teaching a child to use their “Peace Corner”.

I started to use the term “Peace Corner” because that is what they have at the Montessori school my daughter began attending at age 3.  Since she is emotionally sensitive, she has spent her share of time there.  In the youngest years of preschool, if Cora was feeling homesick, she would wander over to the Peace Corner to see pictures of our family (provided specifically for this reason), and let her be in a place she felt comfortable to be sad without being in the middle of the classroom.  Since it is just a part of the classroom, she could see the fun learning that continued, and soon her interest and curiosity were sparked to re-engage in the learning process.  If it didn’t happen within a reasonable amount of time, a teacher came around to help work through the process.  As she got older, there were occasions when she would get her feelings hurt, or have a conflict with a friend, or just be frustrated with herself when she couldn’t do things as easily as she hoped.  The Peace Corner was always there for her, giving her the space and time she needed.

In our house, Cora, now 8 years old, has developed her own Peace Corner.  Behind the rocker/recliner in her room, she has a LARGE fluffy Ladybug pillow she can sit on, and other ladybug pillows to hug on, little animals that move, and tiny princesses to dress, and it is located right next to a large bookshelf loaded with stories.  When she gets upset, she takes herself there.   As a matter of fact, I start wondering about her after a while (when she is quiet), and go in to discover most often she is happily engaged in another activity, or has fallen asleep on her pillows.  Now that she is older, I can ask her if she wants to talk about the situation, or whether she needs some more time before talking about it.  Then we have that conversation when she is ready so we can both learn from the experience.

I’ve developed my own place as well, Mama’s Peace Corner, but that’s a story for a different day.

I found it fascinating that other families have set up Peace Corners in their home, and thought it would provide a greater perspective, seeing other options that might work for your family.

Kid-Friendly Spaces in Our Home  -  Jamie has designed some spaces in their home that make it easier for her family, including a Peace Corner for the children.  Her spaces are more formal than ours, but I like her ideas of what to include.  I really like the glitter jar and stress balloons.

Aimee Wood has more clear instructions on setting up a “Peaceful Play Corner”, including a bowl of crystals and aromatherapy to help create “your own area of zen in your home”.

With her teaching background, Montessori Mama, shares how she has created her classroom’s Peace Corner.  It is her picture I chose to use because of it’s simplicity and her easy to read description.

I would LOVE to hear how a Peace Corner develops in your home, what is in your corner, and how it is working.  Please share your family’s stories.

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