Being anxious, frustrated by a situation, overly tired or overly stimulated are all situations that can lead to a child to feel out of control – and act the same way. Having a Calm Down Kit ready to go can help turn a moment of crazy into a moment of calm while also teaching your child ways they can channel their emotions and energy.

What is a Calm Down Kit?

It is simply a collection of items to help teach children ways to calm down. As adults, we use calming strategies such as deep breathing which may help some children. Other children may need more concrete, tactile or visual strategies for calming. A Calm Down Kit is a variety of items and actions to help

Brain Benefits

Calm Down Kits provide strategies for children to help reconnect the thinking brain to the emotional brain. Managing strong emotions is an essential part of emotional intelligence.

Breathing

Calm down kits should include strategies to help children learn how to take effective deep breaths. This can be done with objects such as a blowing actual bubbles or blowing a pinwheel. If these are not readily available, a child can mimic the act of “blowing out” a candle and “smelling” a flower.

These actions allow a child to breathe in and out deeply.

Visual

Calm down kits should include items which will be visually calming for children and serve to re-direct them.  Just as it is mesmerizing and calming for adults to watch a repetitive action (power wash commercials, for example), the same calm can be achieved for children. Consider using an hourglass style timer found in many board games and allow the child to watch the sands slip through from one end to another. If that isn’t handy, upcycle a clear plastic drink bottle to create a visual sensory tool with glitter or beads. Allow your child to shake it, then watch the glitter settle back into place.

Release Tension

Calm down kits should include appropriate ways for children to release tension. Squeezy slime, modeling clay or colored dough are all great for children to use. If you have a tension ball, or something similar, designate one for their kit.

Emotional Literacy

Calm Down Kits should include resources to help give a child the words (or pictures) they need to tell you how they feel. This helps to support the development of emotional literacy. Books are a great option to introduce emotions and feelings – check out our previous blog “Exploring Emotions Through Reading”  for a list  to get started. You could also make a feelings chart or wheel that you and your child can use as a prop to discuss different emotions and refer to when they are trying to find the words to express their emotions.

Tuck all these tools in an easy-to-reach bag or designate a shelf in the home to have them handy when your child – or maybe you – need to take a quick break to find some calm in the day.

 

Thriving Thursday: Sharing Our Proven Path to Youth Success

Camp Fire uses Thrive{ology} to teach youth to identify sparks, develop a growth mindset, learn goal management, and take time to reflect.

During this COVID-19 crisis, Camp Fire is here to do what we do best – help children and youth thrive by  providing tools to parents and other adults that help youth discover their sparks, gain self-confidence, enhance social emotional learning skills, learn life-changing life skills, develop a growth mindset, learn goal management and take time to reflect and reframe in the face of adversity.

Throughout this shelter in place, every Thursday, Camp Fire First Texas will provide families interactive games, routines or a daily ritual they can incorporate to help their child thrive.  Join the Thriving Thursday email group or follow Camp Fire First Texas on Facebook and Instagram.