Creating a quiet and sensory-friendly space for your child during holiday gatherings can be an essential strategy for reducing meltdowns, and creating peaceful outcomes for everyone.
Whether you're having a ‘Staycation’ at home and preparing to host guests and family that may upend your child's daily routines, or travelling to holiday destinations where experiences are all new and unknown. Creating a Safe Space your child can call their own is a calming sanctuary in an overwhelming world.
Here’s a 10 Tips Checklist for Creating a Calming Sensory Space
Here’s a checklist to set up a safe, comfortable, and calming area for your child.
- Choose a designated area that is away from the main hubbub but still within your sight. Opt for a quieter room, corner, or space with minimal foot traffic. A study room could be a good option.
- For children that seek comfort in confined spaces, our Zen Zone Tent is an essential tool if your child seeks sensory deprivation in order to calm down. At 1m3, a Zen Zone blackout tent can easily fit into a corner, and inside cushions, a weighted blanket, and LED lighting, like our LED light curtain, creates a ‘cocoon’ like safe space, where they can recover, re- emerge and re-engage with the world again. Zen Zone tents can be packed down into a travel bag and are portable, so a great option if away from home.
- If there's no room available, a bedroom could work - preferably one empty during the day. My Space Bed Tents are a good option, placed on top or having the mattress slide into the tent, depending on whether it's a single or king single.
2. Personalise the Space with Familiar Things:
The memory foam in Crash Pads make excellent reclining cushions for comfort, bean bags or our inflatable Hug Boats are great options to personalise and make the person feel it is their own space.
3. Sensory Considerations:
- Ensure Lighting conditions are to the taste of your child- do they like Low Key mood light conditions with their favourite LED bubble tube or LED Pegboard, or Lamp, or do they prefer brighter natural light? Whatever light you choose, its purpose is to create a relaxing, safe and snug environment for your child.
- The space should be ideally in a quiet zone, but you can control the noise level by playing soft music or using noise-cancelling headphones or our shh muffs. The quiet bubbly hum of a bubble tube is good for creating that subtle ambient white noise that can also help further quell external noise.
- Adjust the temperature to suit your child's preferences (bring a portable fan, heater or weighted blanket if necessary).
4. Sensory Tools and Toys:
- If it’s a holiday destination, create a travel kit of your child's favourite sensory tools and fidget toys. Lap Pads, weighted toys. Infinity cubes, squishy Giant stress balls, or tactile items like 3D pin art or sensory texture balls work well. The Junior or Senior fidget Kits are also super handy for being portable and ‘on the go’ fidget resources.
- If on a Stay-Cation, consider mounting a sensory resource wall, complete with pegs and shelves to hang Shh muffs, Ooze tubes, Favourite Fidgets, and weighted toys- all within arms reach and easily tidyable when done.
- Provide a small basket with snacks and water, to give that cosy ‘picnic’ vibe
5. Calming Visuals:
- Hang calming and visually comforting decorations such as string lights or our LED light walls, to put the ‘sensory’ into low key mood lighting.
6. Monitor and Check-In:
- Regularly check in with your child to gauge their comfort and well-being.
- Be prepared to provide emotional support or assist with any adjustments as needed.
- Ensure that the exit from the safe space is accessible, and your child knows how to leave if they feel overwhelmed.
8. Educate Family & Friends:
- A safe space needs to be respected to be effective. Inform family and friends about the purpose of the safe space and request their understanding and support. You may need to instruct others to ask for permission to enter the safe space.
9. Practice at Home:
- Familiarise your child with the concept of a safe space by setting up a similar area at home. This will help them feel more comfortable using it during holiday gatherings.
10. Holiday Schedule:
- Include planned breaks in your child's schedule to visit the safe space proactively before they become overwhelmed. It’s better to be proactive than reactive.