Sometimes the world seems to move very fast! Our children’s senses are inundated with stimuli. This can cause increased anxiety and stressful feelings or tension. I have helped many children to begin to shift their focus from the bustling events around them to noticing calm spaces by becoming a “Calm Space Detective.” Discuss with your child today how you are going to search all day long for clues to find spaces that are calm. Have a conversation about what a calm space might look like, sound or feel like. Give them some examples. Pause for a moment and look around the room and see where there are spaces of calm. Ask your child questions. Is the TV show airing in the corner a calm space? If not, then where is? Is the corner of the couch where pillows are piled a calm space? Is your bedroom a calm space? Is the line at the grocery store a calm space? Is riding in the car to your music lesson a calm space? How about the blade of grass over there? Is that a calm space?
Make it fun! Give your child a special notebook to record calm space tally marks when calm spaces are noticed. Invite your child to count the calm spaces as he notices them. He might prefer to draw them instead. See how many calm spaces you can find in 10 minutes, or during a special time of day such as dinner preparation or before bedtime. Record the clues that suggest that denote a calm space, (for example, perhaps it is quiet there, sounds like silence, it is easy to focus there, it feels peaceful or there isn’t any movement/activity, etc. . .). Tell your child that he/she can make a report at the end of the day to the Chief of Calm at the Calm station. I like to use a hand-held recorder in order to interview the “Calm Space Detective” formally as if he or she were making a final report on their daily investigation. Make a “Calm Space Detective” badge or wear a special “Calm Space Detective” hat. Have fun and be creative.
By noticing where calm spaces exist, your child will begin to differentiate the difference between calm/peaceful/relaxed feelings and locations and busyness/tension/distractions. This is a fundamental awareness skill in developing the ability to relax the body and mind. In addition, studies have shown that by simply focusing our attention on calm places, our bodies begin to experience feelings of calm and relaxation. People can experience increased feelings of calm and relaxation simply by watching calm and/or relaxed people, events or places.
Additional ideas: cut out pictures of calm places from magazines and glue them in the special notebook, look at nature books together, listen to calming music, create a special calm space of the day and practice a relaxation activity there, share your detective report with the whole family and discuss the favorite “calm space” of the day or a special “calm space” you would like to create.