Why Your Kids Need a Quiet Space & How to Create One

Why Your Kids Need a Quiet Space & How to Create One

This might just be the secret to raising calmer, more independent, self-confident kids!


By Lorraine Allen

Teaching our kids to enjoy calming down and being alone is a great way to foster independence, self-confidence, and self-soothing. How can we do this without a magic wand? Very simply by giving kids the space they need to develop these important emotional strengths on their own.

A quiet nook in your home is a great gift for your growing children -- of any age -- because it can be personalized, inviting, cozy, private, and very special to them. It will draw them in and encourage them to enjoy spending quiet time alone, which is how kids learn to calm down, focus, build confidence, and think independently. This should be a welcoming spot they can use to curl up with a book or some toys, or just to hide, cry, daydream or nap. It’s a retreat from the hectic lives our kids lead inside and outside the home.

These days, our kids are used to constant stimulation. “They have little downtime and research has shown this is correlated directly with a marked increase in attention and anxiety disorders,” says Darby Fox, a child and adolescent family therapist. A quiet nook serves two functions, she explains. First, it gives kids a space to take a break from their demanding lives, and encourages them to just relax and unwind, she says. And second, it serves as an important place to concentrate on reading or other activities away from the constant commotion of family life, Fox says.

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“We have taught our children to multitask, but our brains work more effectively when we do not multitask,” she notes. A quiet, private spot helps kids recognize when they need to take a break and recharge, which is a critical piece of developing healthy individuals, Fox explains.

So, how do you create a welcoming, cozy, quiet spot for your children to calm down, hide, dream, recharge, rest, and grow? “Work with them to create a space that is comfortable,” Fox suggests.

Make sure you take their individuality and personality to heart: If your kid is scared of the dark, don’t put it in the basement, for instance, and make sure it’s in a well-lit spot, like near a window.

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Make this nook plush and inviting, using large throw pillows, and maybe a soft rug or foam mat with a blanket on top. Beanbags work well, too. Hang a curtain or strings of beads across the area, too, for privacy.

Consider making the corner extra personal by helping your kids paint a mural on the wall, or stencil their names on the ceiling, for instance. Using chalkboard paint on one wall of the nook is a great way to encourage kids to doodle, write, or draw, and generally be creative without making a huge mess in their little hideaway. It gives them somewhere to express their thoughts and frustrations and encourages them to relax and unwind, through art.

A string of lights adds a cool, welcoming glow, too. In my daughter’s nook, I hung lights that are star-shaped and change colors, but are not too bright. String lights come in so many shapes and sizes, it’s almost hard to choose! Whatever you do, make it a fun, special project for you and your kid, and she will be sure to enjoy it for hours, and probably years, on end.

How have you worked with your kids to create a space they can retreat to?


Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/Imgorthand


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