Years ago time-outs came into vogue as an alternative to spanking, but as research in child and family psychology and parenting techniques evolved, the modern generation of mamas is looking beyond punitive time-outs and more to how we can help kids find the time and place to find their calm. That’s why TikTok user, Maarte Mami is going mega-viral this week, because this mama stopped doing time outs and set up a “calming corner” for her son in her living room. It’s a sensory experience, a soft rug with comfy pillows and toys he can use to center himself through relaxation and play.
“After about a year I made a choice to do away with time outs because there are such big emotions that lead up to timeouts, and it didn’t seem effective to me to leave my son to sit alone with these big, scary emotions ,” the TikToker explains. Instead of time out being the consequence to a behavior, the calming corner (what some parents and child psychology experts refer to as a “time-in”) allows her son to regulate his own emotions and behaviors in a healthy way. “This gives him a super comfy, safe space as an outlet to reflect, center his mind, process his thoughts, and regulate his emotions. The calming corner allows him to do this because he can meditate, do breathing exercises, or just sit and relax and calm himself via the tools that appeal to his five senses.” As Montessori teacher Christina Clemer previously explained for Motherly , “Time-in removes a child from a situation or behavior just like a time out. The difference is that you stay with your child, rather than sending them away.” Family therapist Jessie Bohnenkamp also recommends time-ins, suggesting “when a child loses their cool, take them to a quiet space (their room, outside the restaurant, the car), and then simply let them vent their emotions.

A calming corner can be that quiet space for a child to have a time-in.

“The goal is to make the space soothing, so that it fosters concentration. They also have far fewer things, both on the walls and to play with—you may find a small shelving unit with two or three shelves and just a few items on each shelf, with plenty of space between each toy,” says Clemer , who adds the corner can be “somewhere for your child to rest or recover from an upsetting moment. This is often a big floor pillow in a corner for a younger child. It could be a comfy chair by a window for an older child.” For the viral TikTok mama Maarte Mami the calming corner is a rug on the floor, but it could look different in your house. Whatever works for you and your child so that they have a space to find their calm.