Worries and stress can feel big and overwhelming. Sometimes it can feel like thoughts about worries are unstoppable. You may notice your worries growing because you can’t stop thinking about the same thing over and over.

A great way to help your brain turn off the worries is to have a quiet and calm space to regain control over high-stress situations and redirect to a calm, focused activity.

Here are a few resources from our team of YMCA behavior consultants.


The Set-Up

Creating the space does not have to be complicated. The setup can range from a corner of a room to outdoors. Some people have used tents or a box!

Ideas of what to include in the space:

  • Pillows
  • Weighted items like soft blankets or stuffed animals
  • Bean Bags
  • Yoga mats
  • Soft things to hug


Quiet, Focused Activities

Include books, bubbles, manipulatives for sorting, counting, building, or other supplies that promote a quiet, focused activity. *TIP: Bubbles are fun and promote breathing techniques.

Ideas of types of items to include:

  • Fidgets - squishy ones, balls, stretchy ones - mainly dealing with sensory, fuzzy things
  • Calming music like waves of ocean or nature sounds
  • Headphones
  • Reminders on deep breathing or taking breaths (Check out these techniques)


Using the Space

Keep the experience positive when using the space. Introduce children to the space by spending time reading a book or doing an activity. Use quiet voices and simple language. Take note of when you or your children are feeling overstimulated and redirect them to the space. As much as possible, take action before emotions are escalated.

Calm Down Kits: Everyone can benefit from having their own homemade calm down kit, filled with calming tools and things that suit their needs and interests.


Need additional support? Learn more about the Y's Behavior Consultation Services.

YMCA Behavior Consultation Services is a resource for parents and primary caregivers with children ages 0-8. We believe that by supporting children’s caregivers, through increasing awareness, confidence, knowledge, and skills in caregiving and child development, we can promote children’s social-emotional development while transforming challenging behaviors. We do this by building supportive relationships and collaborating with caregivers, including families and childcare providers, to promote and grow in their ability to respond to the needs of children in their care. Learn more.