A Master Needs a Dojo: Children Need Places Prepared for Flow States

A dojo is a prepared environment, a training hall, for martial arts practitioners—created with the explicit purpose for them to be in the zone, which is another expression for dropping into flow. Being in the zone makes clear how significantly the flow state is connected to a suitable environment.

Flow requires a specific space where flow can happen. A tennis player needs a court, a swimmer needs a body of water, a carpenter needs a woodshop, a musician needs a quiet place, and children need nature and a variety of flow stations. Flow stations are prepared environments in which a child can experiment with a multitude of skills and discover their innate talents.

Whatever your home and whatever your budget, you can rearrange just a few things (or many things) to help your child feel more welcome and find places to fully experience flow. Even one small, well-prepared place can have a positive effect on your child’s well-being and behavior. Ideally, you unleash your own creativity and have fun creating learning wonderlands.

Do not hesitate to remove elements at any time that don’t seem to work and dare to experiment with inventing new flow stations. Take clues from your child; for instance, if they are fascinated with ice, create a place where your child can experiment with a big bucket of ice cubes, and add a towel and watercolors, and other things they may need.
Children need places where they can be the creators of their own reality, where they can pretend, build, craft, play, tinker, and talk to themselves as they wish. When a child has regular access to flow stations, they can settle down and venture into their own world. As a result, they almost always become happier, more relaxed, more accessible, and more collaborative.

Flow stations make it easy for children to choose an activity and focus on it. They provide access to a variety of toys, hands-on materials, and age- appropriate crafting supplies that allow a child to explore and discover activities that suit their development in the moment.

Depending on your relationship, you might like to spend time with your child in the newly created places until they feel comfortably connected with you and can focus on their own activities.nA flow station can have highly beneficial effects on your child and the atmosphere in your home. Many power struggles may disappear because in this place your child can feel powerful. Clinging may diminish because your child will feel at home. Whining and boredom may decrease because they will have interesting options to pursue on their own.

At home you can dedicate a complete room or nooks and corners to your child; ideally, there is also an outdoor space. Create these places so your child loves to spend time there. Different children need different elements. The simple action of creating special places for your child is a profound act of love. It shows your child that you truly care, that they can trust you, that they matter and belong, and that this is also their home.

We can’t control the world at large, but we can be in charge of our own home. Your home can be a sanctuary for you and your child. In your home, you decide which influences you allow and what must stay out. Consciously create healthy boundaries around your home so it remains a place where you and your family can recover, relax, and be creative. Even one prepared space in your home will have a positive impact on your relationship with your child and on their behavior.

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