So you’re all-in on a positive approach to discipline. You’re ready to swap time-outs for an effective calm down corner alternative. You just want to help your child create a safe haven for big feelings.
The good news? You can 100% implement an appealing calm down area with effective tools and without breaking the bank.
Let’s discuss the best calm down corner printables on a budget!
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What’s a Calm Down Corner?
A calm down corner is a safe, designated space for kids to identify and process their emotions with the loving support of a caregiver.
Sometimes the term “calm down corner” is used interchangeably with “time-in.” Both are alternatives to traditional time-outs.
So what’s the difference?
In reality, calm down corners are just a small part of “time-ins.”
Simply put, time-ins are carefully constructed and collaborative conversations with children about big feelings, behaviors, and problem-solving.
Why a Calm Down Corner/Time-In?
Before we jump into calm down corner printables, let’s touch on why calm down corners/time-ins are the preferred discipline method in positive parenting.
Time-Out vs. Time-In
In a traditional time-out:
- The child is sent away in isolation as a means of punishment.
- There is often a high level of caregiver control. (Think, “Don’t come out until I tell you!”)
- There is often a low level of perceived control and choice by the child.
- The caregiver takes on an authoritarian role, often telling the child what to do to solve the problem (“You can come out when you’re ready to apologize.”)
In a time-in/calm down corner:
- The child does not perceive the space as a “punishment,” rather as an opportunity.
- A child takes ownership of the designated location.
- Connection between child and caregiver comes before correction of behaviors.
- The caregiver and child work in collaboration.
- The caregiver takes on an authoritative role, serving as a consultant in the problem-solving process (“How were you feeling when you ______? What is your plan for making things right?”)
A Child’s Perspective
Positive parenting honors the true definition of discipline, meaning “to teach” (not punish!). So let’s consider what messages time-outs vs. time-ins send to children.
*”Thinking, feeling, deciding” language originates from Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline model.
What’s a Calm Down Corner Printable?
If you have a young child, you’ve likely already discovered that saying “calm down!” doesn’t do a whole lot for helping them through big emotions!
Children benefit when provided visual images and choices to help them:
- Identify their big emotion at play.
- Select a positive, healthy way to cope and calm down.
- Communicate and collaborate with caregivers on problem-solving solutions (once calm).
Calm down printables are simple visual images (e.g., posters, cards, and games) to support this process.
The beauty of printable tools is that you can download and access them from the comfort of your own home! No shipping costs or waiting for your time-in materials to arrive by mail.
Why Such a Little While’s Calm Down Printables?
I carefully developed each of Such a Little While‘s calm down corner printables as a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator as well as a former Pre-K to 12th professional school counselor and Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports coach.
In other words, I’ve spent the past decade supporting children through big emotions and helping caregivers find their own calm in the storm!
Most importantly, as a fellow parent, I understand the importance of fostering healthy social and emotional development for our young children.
Types of Calm Down Corner Printables
The two most essential calm down printables you’ll need to get started are:
- Visual Tools for Identifying Feelings: Help kids name their feelings and build emotional self-awareness.
- Visual Tools for Calm Down Strategies: Provide kids a sense of control and calm by allowing them to choose their own effective coping strategy.
Top Calm Down Corner Printables (That Won’t Break the Bank!)
Visual Tools for Identifying Feelings
It’s no secret that big behaviors often accompany big feelings in young kids. A calm down corner should first and foremost aim to help kids learn how to identify their feelings, then learn to express them healthily and safely.
Building your child’s emotional vocabulary is a crucial first step in this process!
It’s essential to first introduce new tools below when kids are calm through games, reading, and play.
Once your child is comfortable accurately identifying feelings, they may begin using the tools when big feelings are present.
Calm Down Corner Feelings Poster
This printable calm down corner poster is a great way to regularly integrate a discussion of feelings into your child’s day-to-day routine!
Consider posting a copy in a location where you regularly read together. Children can learn a great deal about emotions and related social cues through books. Ask them how they think different characters may be feeling and use your poster for reference.
You’ll also of course want to post a copy in your child’s calm down corner.
Oftentimes when young children are upset, it is difficult for them to communicate needs let alone verbally articulate feelings.
This printable emotions poster allows kids the opportunity to connect and express feelings simply by pointing to the picture of their choice.
You’ll receive 2 printable feelings poster sizes (18×24 in and 8.5×11 in) for identifying emotions through facial clipart visuals.
Each poster includes 10 clipart images, corresponding emotion names, and a short 4-step problem-solving guide for managing big feelings.
Feelings Cards for Identifying Emotions
If your child is new to identifying emotions or is still working to build this skill, consider supporting them by narrowing down the number of feelings choices presented.
This set of 10 printable emotion cards will help you do just that! Instead of saying “You seem mad,” show them 2-3 emotions cards and ask them to choose the one that feels right.
With time, your child will become more familiar and comfortable with identifying emotions.
This set of 10 feelings cards for identifying emotions includes facial and body language visuals. Each card comes with a visual clipart image, emotion name, and short sentence to describe the feeling word in context.
Optional: Cards can be laminated and placed on a ring for kids to choose from.
REAL FACES: More Visual Tool Options for Identifying Feelings
Tip: To encourage your child’s buy-in and ownership over their cool-down corner, allow them to choose between Such a Little While’s clipart and real face calm down printable options!
Additional Tools to Build an Emotional Vocabulary
Here are a few more of our top-selling and engaging social & emotional learning activities for helping kids.
While these tools are not specifically for a cool down corner, they’re an excellent way to help kids build an emotional vocabulary when things are calm.
This printable hybrid social/emotional and academic development activity book is packed full of 60 feelings worksheets for kids (ideal for Pre-K and Kindergarten students).
The “My Feelings” Workbook supports kids in learning:
- 10 key emotions & related social cues
- 15 different healthy coping skills
- Self-advocacy & problem-solving skills
- Counting practice for numbers 1-20
- Letter recognition & tracing for early writing & reading skills
- Fine motor drawing & coloring fun!
- Feelings Bingo Game (Printable Cards)Product on sale
Such a Little While’s printable game of “Feelings Bingo” is a fun, effective play-based social/emotional learning tool for kids ages 3 & up.
This PDF download includes 8 game cards along with 3 sets of playing cards for 2-8 players.
Feelings Bingo helps children learn to identify and recognize 10 key emotions and corresponding social cues. It also includes 3 different playing card options to cater to players of all ages and skillsets
Visual Tools for Calm Down Choices & Coping Skills
Calming Strategies & Coping Skills Printables
A calm down corner would not be complete without a calm down choice printable!
Use this poster first to teach coping skills when kids are calm. Then, use in a designated cool-off spot to support your child through tough moments.
Several of the calm down strategies include basic kids’ items, most of which you likely have in your home! Drawing/coloring tools, paper, play dough, books, stress ball, music, and stuffed animals.
Remember to gather and store these items in your child’s cool-off spot ahead of time!
This instant PDF download of 2 printable poster size options, 18×24 in. and 8.5×11 inches.
Each poster includes 12 visual calm down strategies ideal for preschool-aged children through lower elementary grade levels.
Simple descriptions are printed under each strategy to assist you in teaching each coping skill.
This set of 12 calm down cards introduces simple, fun, and practical coping skills that kids can use as early as age 3.
Cards are an ideal visual tool for getting buy-in on calm down strategies. You may narrow down the number of options shown to your child but ultimately allow him or her to choose their favorite to try.
By offering limited choices, children can quickly gain a sense of control and collaboration in the problem-solving process.
These 12 printable visual calm down strategy cards are ideal for preschool-aged children through lower elementary grade levels.
Cards can be laminated and placed on a ring for kids to choose from. Simple descriptions are printed on each card to assist you in introducing each calm down option.
More Calming Strategies & Coping Skills Printables
Mindfulness can be a powerful calming tool for kids! Use this exercise kit to help keep kids calm. Or, use when you observe those “warning signs” that big feelings and behaviors are bubbling up!
What’s mindfulness? In short, mindfulness empowers kids how to pay close attention to their thoughts and bodies.
This kit includes 3 different scripts for parents to read aloud based on their child’s age and includes a bonus coloring activity. No experience required!
How to Implement an Effective Calm Down Corner
So now that you have all of your calm down printables ready to go, do you feel confident and equipped to deliver an effective time-in? One aligned with the best positive parenting practices?
If not, you’re not alone!
86% of parents who subscribe to positive parenting practices say they don’t feel confident holding a time-in*!data from Such a Little While Instagram poll 06/2021
Why? There’s no “time-in manual.” Something needed to change….
The 4-Step CALM Solution
As a certified positive discipline parent educator, former school counselor, and fellow parent, I developed just that:
A ground-breaking, 45-page digital guide with an effective, step-by-step time-in plan. One that specifically promotes healthy social/emotional development!
The Time-In Response Plan is designed for children ages 1-7 (*calm down printables are recommended for ages 3 and up).
Why our calm down printables are most effective with The Time-In Response Plan
The Time-In Response Plan significantly enhances our calm down printables by helping parents and caregivers:
- Learn when a child is ready for a designated calm down corner (and what to do in the meantime!)
- Learn when and how to introduce each calm down printable tool
- Understand the “why” behind big feelings and behaviors
- Implement the 4 key components of an effective time-in (time out alternative)
- Practice with over 50 specific response examples for the most common parenting challenges
- Master the essential “do’s” & “dont’s” of positive parenting discipline
- Learn how to maintain loving AND firm boundaries
- Empower kids to become collaborative problem-solvers
- BONUS guides on consequences & apologies
The Time-In Response Plan helps families thrive through the most common parenting challenges:
Tantrums & Meltdowns
Master the 3 game-changing steps to take BEFORE addressing your child’s big behaviors.
Hitting, kicking, biting. Learn how to hold space for big feelings while maintaining boundaries.
Defiance & Task Refusal
Problems are never solved with power struggles. Uncover how to spark collaboration.
Worries & Fears
Well-intended words often make kids MORE scared. Understand why and what to say instead.
Whining & Backtalk
Learn how to love your kids through tough moments without being a permissive parent.
Discover how to empower kids towards independent problem-solving.
Our Best Calm Down Corner Printables + The Time-In Response Plan
Wondering how to get all of the calm down printables featured here and the Time-In Response Plan at the very best value?
Save over 20% on everything you’ve seen in this post with Such a Little While’s Calm Collection!
What’s in The CALM Collection (print-at-home kit)
- The Calm Collection Caregiver Guide (10-page PDF with step-by-step support for each of the CALM Collection tools)
- The Time-In Response Plan (45-page digital positive parenting guide to master the top time-out alternative!)
- 2 sets of feelings cards for identifying emotions (clipart & real faces)
- 2 printable emotions posters (clipart & real faces)
- Calming strategies cards (coping skills for kids)
- Calming strategies printable poster
- BONUS: Family Feelings BINGO game
- BONUS: 60-activity “My Feelings” workbook
- BONUS: Mindfulness Exercise Kit for kids,
Total Value: $66
Today’s Offer: $47
Yes, I’m ready for an effective time-out alternative with the CALM Collection!
Your decision to invest in your family with The CALM Collection speaks volumes about the unconditional love you have for your child. A willingness to learn and try new strategies is not easy and honestly something most parents are not able or willing to do.
You’re about to make a powerful commitment to yourself, your children, and your family’s future. I hope you’re feeling incredibly proud at this moment. You’ve got this!
Note: This is a digital, printable product and no physical item will be shipped. You will receive a .pdf file to download immediately after checkout. File license is non-refundable and for personal, non-commercial, non-transferrable, informational, and educational use only.