When my son was a young toddler I heard other parents with kids the same age talking about how terrible tantrums were to deal with. And I just couldn’t relate. Our little guy was very verbal from a young age. He was pretty effective at communicating his needs and just overall very easy going. And then he turned three.
Suddenly his energy, intensity and emotions became too much for him to handle. His biggest trigger was not being able to complete a task independently and frustration took over. I wanted to be sure he had the tools to manage his emotions so I took some simple steps to put together a calm down kit.
The important thing I was really hoping to achieve by providing a calm down kit was an opportunity to manage a range of emotions, not just negative or challenging behavior.
Even as adults we can sometimes feel uncomfortable being in a state of calm. Resting and quiet can feel unproductive. But our brains need stillness as much as they need activity. And I want my son to understand from an early age that bringing himself back to a calm state of mind can help him focus his thinking and solve problems.
So, we use our calm down kit to redirect from tantrums. But we also use it for other high energy times. Sometimes my son’s constant moving and talking is overwhelming for me. Having some calm, quiet activities he can work on for a few minutes gives us both the break we need to go about our day less frazzled.
Related: Creating a Calm Down Area for Your Child
So, just what do you include in a calm down kit? There are so many possibilities. And it helps to break it down into various sensory needs.
Oral and Olfactory
- Hard candies
- Chew necklace
- Lavender, Frankincense or Vetiver essential oils
Breathing and Emotional Regulation
After experimenting with these supplies I was putting together for our little guy I started to think it’d be nice to have a calm down kit for myself! We all get overwhelmed by big emotions, and those emotions are especially big for our little people who aren’t sure how to manage them. Engaging the senses during moments of anger or frustration is sure to have everybody feeling calmer sooner.
What are some of your best tricks for helping your kiddo calm down when he or she is upset? Share in the comments so we can all help each other.
More Resources for Helping Intense and Anxious Kiddos: