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kindergarten teacher, sun lover, scorpio-introvert, dog mom, obsessed with low-tox living. Hoping to help you parent your littles, make some clean swaps, & simply live your best life.

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mackenzie

12/14/2021

Struggling to get through Meltdowns? Try a Feelings Corner

Kids have big feelings from time to time. For parents, helping your child through these feelings can often be challenging, confusing, frustrating and downright disheartening. Helping kids work through feelings was probably one of the things I did the MOST as a kindergarten teacher. There’s a lot going on in kids’ heads and hearts, and they often need some space — and a translator, too. While we might not always know what’s bothering our kids, we can help create spaces where our kids feel safe and willing to work through their feelings. 

WHAT IT IS:

I created a space in my classroom called “The Feelings Corner” and my kids LOVED it. This and fully flexible seating were probably two of my best moves, and two of my favorites, too! So… what is a “feelings corner?” It’s a “safe space” in the classroom where kids can go when they’re having big feelings. It’s a space with clear guidelines and expectations. It’s filled with tools to help kids work through feelings and learn how to do it fluidly and eventually on their own. It meant that when kids had a problem that interfered with their productivity, they had a way to communicate that to me without interrupting.

HOW IT WORKS:

Whenever a child had a problem and needed some space to work through it, or needed my help and I was unavailable they would go to the feelings corner. They then knew that I would come check in with them as soon as possible. Oftentimes they would check in with each other, and often they’d help each other. This might seem irrelevant, but it taught them to be aware of their feelings and of others’ feelings. Once you start doing this in your home, your child will most likely become more aware of how you’re feeling, too and check in with you when you’re having “big feelings.”

There were many times when kids would go there, I’d be in the middle of a reading group, and by the time I was done they’d be feeling happy again and back to work. I’d still quietly check in with them, and most of the time they had come up with a solution on their own. This concept of having a place for them to go fosters their own emotional regulation and awareness. It’s an incredible tool. 

Here were a few guidelines/facts about our feelings corner:

  • Kid go there when having big feelings that they need time to process or work through
  • It’s a clue to me that the student might need help 
  • The student knows the teacher will check in asap AND that they do not have to talk to the teacher. 
  • In the feelings corner we had a few soothing and processing tools:
    • books
    • blank paper and colored pencils 
    • Clear plastic bottle/tube with colors/glitter inside
    • A list of the zones of regulation 
    • A list of tools to help reregulate

Reasons why we all loved the feelings corner:

  • It normalized having “big feelings”
  • It helped kids work through their feelings instead of getting stuck
  • It allowed opportunities for students to be compassionate to one another
  • It gave students a comfortable place to be while waiting for support
  • It gave students an opportunity to work through their feelings while they waited for an adult
  • It was nonverbal, so no one had to say anything. Oftentimes, when we’re having big feelings that’s the hardest time to communicate how we feel. This removed that step that’s often so frustrating. 
  • It made it possible for the kids to take ownership and be independent during challenging moments

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

  1. Start to pay attention to when and where your child has the most meltdowns. This will help you get your feelings corner set up with next week’s post!
  2. Make sure you’re signed up to get the tips and links right to your inbox. Bonus you’ll get my “say this not that” cheat sheet free download, too! Sign up here.
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