Got a toddler tantrum on your hands? You may be in need of a Calm Down Kit!
“Sometimes children really have a difficult time controlling their emotions,” explained Bridget Barnes, Director Common Sense Parenting Program Boys Town. “They need a strategy of self soothing. The calm down kit is used as a preventative measure to help children know what they’re supposed to do when they’re in an emotionally tense situation.”
“A homemade calm down kit can have all sorts of things in it,” explained Barnes. “Some kits include things like a stress ball. Sometimes children don’t know they’re upset, or they know they are but don't feel it coming on until it's too late. So I ask them to squeeze the ball and say, ‘see how that feels?’ Your body body is really tense that means you're really upset and when you let go and stop squeezing see how calm you feel? Now let’s try that and notice how you’re feeling upset.”
“Sometimes when older kids get mad they say ‘you’ a lot. You made me do this. You won’t let me have what I want. So we have an “I” book. A notebook they can write in, when I get upset I should say this I should do that verses you, you, you, everybody is at fault but me,” Barnes explained.
“Taking a deep breath. Get one of those party blowers and take the whistle part out, and they can learn to take a deep breath and blow it out. So eventually they can learn I should take a deep breath and blow it out and in just those few seconds they calm himself down.”
“Some kids are very tactile so including a squishy bracelet or toy they can feel and touch when they're feeling upset.”
“This year we’re starting what we call a CommuniCrate. It’s kind of like a BirchBox. It will come every month with a different parenting topic in it. The parent will have something to do and the child will have something to do,” Barnes said. “In one prototype box we included instructions for the parent, and instructions for the child. This box was all about positive praise and included the 4 to 1 method. Meaning for every one time I correct the child I’m going to find four other times to praise him.”
For more on the new program visit BoysTown.org.