Looking for ideas for a calming box for home or the classroom?
Preparing a calming box is easy and a very practical strategy that will facilitate kids’ self-soothing.
There are lots of activities that can help our kids when they are feeling upset, angry, anxious or overexcited.
But when kids need to put their coping skills to good use, it can be very impractical to start looking around the house for those toys, books or tools that help them calm down.
If you are a teacher, a calming kit is also a great addition to your calm down corner in the classroom.
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What is a calming box?
A calming box is a collection of items that help us self-regulate that are conveniently stored in a box or other type of container.
Having a calm down kit toolbox allows you to easily access all the items that facilitate your kids’ calm down strategies.
You may have also heard them referred as a calm down box, a calm box, a stress relief kit, or a coping skills toolbox.
What do you put in a calm down box?
The short answer is anything that works for your kid.
You know your kid’s needs better than anybody else but, just in case you need some inspiration, I will share some ideas from our own calm down box.
I will also add some items that we aren’t using but that are also popular self-soothing tools.
In order to prepare your calm box, grab any nice box that you have around (it doesn’t need to be anything fancy).
Make sure it is big enough to fit all the self-regulation items that your child may use.
Items that you may consider including in your coping skills toolbox:
- Calm Down Strategy Cards.
Visual cues can be an effective help when your kid is choosing calming strategies.
We have printed ours in two different formats: a booklet where we can see different strategies at glance, and cards that we can carry around in a pocket, a backpack or on a lanyard.
(Link for downloads at the end of the post)
Books can distract your child from the feeling he/she is experiencing.
Any book may do the trick, but I like to include books that deal with the issues my child may be experiencing (anger, anxiety, confusion).
These are some of our favorite titles:
👉 What to Do When Your Temper Flares. A Kids Guide to Overcoming Problems With Anger
👉 Everybody Feels Angry!
👉 Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
👉 The Anxiety Workbook for Kids
- Sensory Bottles / Calming Jars
Sensory bottles are very useful calming tools.
Check out our post on homemade sensory bottles with four easy recipes that you prepare with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
- Favorite soft toys
Hugging a favorite soft toy can also help self-regulate.
You can also teach them how to “breathe in/hug tight / breathe out-relax”, repeating this cycle several times till they start feeling calmer
- Fidgeting toys
Some kids just love fidgeting with little toys. It is another way of taking their minds from those feelings that have been bothering them.
These two packs of sensory toys are good value for money: 1) sensory toys set and 2) fidget toys set
- Problem-solving worksheets
If those strong emotions have been caused by problems that can be solved, a little extra help from a problem-solving worksheet may go a long way.
These are the ones we use ?
- Headphones & Music
You know the saying that music soothes the savage beast.
Nothing like relaxing music to make the tension go.
You can have a 30 day FREE trial of Amazon Music Unlimited here? FREE TRIAL
- Positive affirmations cards
Positive affirmations are positive statements that we tell ourselves for self-motivation or to challenge negative thoughts.
Learn all you need to know about positive affirmations and how to practice affirmations ? Positive affirmations for Kids
- Emotions Charts
An emotions chart is a visual resource that features emoticons, pictures or face drawings describing different emotions. It is a useful ally when kids have difficulties labeling or expressing their feelings.
👉 Learn about emotions charts for kids (includes a free emotion chart download)
👉 Keep track of your child’s feelings with a mood tracker
- A journal
Some kids may find it easier to express their feelings in a feelings journal.
We have developed two gorgeous journals to help kids understand and navigate their feelings:
1. The Cool Kid Journal is our most comprehensive resource for anger management and coping skills development for kids.
2. The Confidence journal is absolutely gorgeous and it helps kids discover:
- how to believe in themselves
- how to face challenges with confidence
- that mistakes help us learn
- A drawing notebook
Other kids may find it difficult to find the words to express their feelings but may be able to draw their emotions on paper
- A worry eater
We have the cutie you see in the picture below, and often write our problems on a piece of paper and let the worry eater take care of them.
- Happy thoughts scrapbook
Add a scrapbook with all the happy memories and favorite places, to help change bad thoughts into happy ones
- A laminated print-out of your kid’s favorite jokes
- Breathing exercises enablers, like bubbles bottles.
- Thinking putty
Stretch it, twist it and relax!
- A bag of cookies
Nothing that favorite cookies can’t fix.
Ok, it may also be a healthy snack ?
- A weighted blanket
Lots of kids find the pressure of a weighted blanket very comforting.
Check out these tips on how to use your weighted blanket (and learn from my mistakes!)
- A weighted stuffed puppy
This soft plus doggy has been designed for kids sensory processing disorders. It allows them to be calm down, remain seated for longer periods of time, improve sleep, relieve stress, and it creates a great grounding effect.
And it is really cute!
Ideas for a Calm Down Corner
If you have enough space, you could go the extra mile and create a calm down corner.
Other Calming Ideas for Kids
Ready to start preparing your calming box?
If you wish to download our Calm Down Cards you will find the link in the following post:
How to Prepare a Calming Box for your Kids or Students
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