The idea of creating an in-home safe space sparked some time ago when I worked at a child development center. I noticed, tucked off in the classroom was a small, cozy area in a discrete location. The sign above it read “alone box”. I was quite curious as to what this space was used for. Throughout the day I noticed a few children entering the area some staying for a short time, others longer. The emotions that I read from the children’s faces all differed as well, a few seemed bored, a couple lonely, and some were angry. What was magical about this box, was that the children never left it the same. In today’s blog, I’m going to share with you why every parent should consider creating an in-home safe space, and how to go about it.
An in-home safe space is a location where children can go to get some “alone time”. I’ve seen areas as such be used by children who were angry and needed a space to calm down, children who were frustrated and wanted to practice coping skills, and children who just wanted a spot to chill and disengage from those around them.
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To some parents, the in-home safe space may sound similar to “time outs” or “time-ins” but the approach and the outlook are very different. Children choose when they want to enter into the safe space and although we may remind them about it, we won’t force them to go there.
Here are a few reasons why you might consider incorporating an in-home safe space for your children:
- Children learn how to self-initiate the use of coping mechanisms
- Children understand that they can safely disengage from people and situations around them
- It promotes the use and development of healthy coping skills
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Here are a few tips for creating the space:
- Find a discrete area that is still commonly located (ex. living room, dining area, hallway)
- The area should comfortably fit one child
- There should be a few items that assist children with relaxing (ex. fidgets, coloring books, soft blankets, plush pillows)
- A list of coping skills with pictures
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