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Inside: The calm down kit for kids – Discover the best way to help children calm down and manage strong emotions and download the printable calm down strategies for your child!
One of the things that helped me the most as a parent was understanding how emotions influence my child’s behavior.
Knowing how hard it is for kids to manage strong emotions and how important the parent’s guidance and support are makes it easier for me to stay calm and empathetic when we face challenging moments.
At first, it was hard for me to deal with my son’s anger or with his tantrums, but after learning how to help him manage strong emotions things got better for both of us. I felt more patient and understanding and less frustrated, and he became more willing to follow my guidance.
We always used time-in as a positive parenting alternative to time-outs and this helped him a lot in learning how to react better when he is overwhelmed by strong emotions.
But there was one more tool that made a big difference for us! And I want to share it with you today, because I know how challenging it can be to find the right way to teach kids how to calm down.
How we started to use a calm down kit
For young kids, learning to control their emotions and calm down when they get overwhelmed requires time and support. Children need guidance from their parents to understand their emotions and learn better ways to behave in challenging situations.
When we first started to use time-in as a disciplining method, I focused on offering my son a safe place to express his feelings and teach him how to manage strong emotions.
But even if this method worked well, I felt like I could help him more!
This is why when I discovered the idea of a calm down kit I knew I wanted to try it with my son. And I’m very glad that I did!
After we started using the calm down kit it was a lot easier for him to talk about his feelings. He began using the calm down ideas included in the box, and they helped him relax and feel better.
Finding a playful and effective way to deal with intense parenting moments made a big difference for us!
If you feel that your child needs more support in learning how to manage their emotions, I encourage you to try this idea! It is very easy to put into practice and it can make challenging moments a lot easier to manage!
What to include in your calm down kit
The content of the calm down kit depends on the child’s age and preferences. We updated the box a few times as my son grew up, so we tested many ideas along the way.
Here is a big list of things you could include in your child’s calm down kit:
- playdough (homemade play dough with lavender scent is also a great idea because it has a relaxing effect and helps kids calm down easier)
- books about emotions: In My Heart: A Book of Feelings, Llama Llama Mad at Mama, Glad Monster, Sad Monster, The Way I Feel
- stuffed animal
- coloring book
- crayons + markers (these twistable crayons are great)
- squeezing ball (like these ones)
- silly putty
- emotions poster (printable below)
- “Calming ideas” poster (printable below)
- calming cards (printable below)
- calming music (we used a CD player with headphones)
- calm down / sensory bottle
- motion liquid bubble timer
- bubble wrap.
(Always make sure that the items you choose are age-appropriate and safe for your child.)
What we included in our calm down kit
As I mentioned before, the content of our calm down kit changed several times.
So my best advice for you is to start with a few items that your kids would like most, and keep updating the kit as you discover what works best for helping them calm down.
Here is how our last version of the calm down kit looked like:
The box includes:
- the printable calm down cards (my son uses them to choose an idea he wants to try)
- the emotions poster (that helps him identify his feelings and name them)
- two posters with calming ideas (you can find the printable file at the end of the article)
- silly putty
- a stress ball and a sensory ball
- our PeaceMakers set (an awesome tool created by Generation Mindful)
- a set of small toys (my son loves dinosaurs and these small figurines were great for getting him in a better mood)
- a notebook with a pouch (I liked the idea of keeping the markers in the pouch for him to use them anytime he wants to draw something)
- two motion liquid bubble timers (one bought from a museum and another one ordered from Amazon – my son loves them)
Here is how the whole content of the box looks like (except the poster that I usually display next to the box):
My son usually starts using the calm down kit by telling me how he feels using the cute emotions poster.
Then he chooses an idea from the posters or from the cards, or he picks one of the objects in the box and plays with them.
Some of the ideas require him to bring objects that are not in the box, like puzzles or books. I used to include a book or puzzle in the kit at first but now I find it easier to invite him to choose one from his room.
How to download the printable resources for the calm down kit
If you want to try this idea with your kids, here are some ideas to help you get started:
- a free printable Calm Down Kit Checklist with things to include in your toolkit and tips for using this tool to manage challenging parenting situations easier
- a complete printable Calming Strategies set including all the printable files you’ll need to add a kit for your child
- an idea list of things to include in your calm down kit that you can easily find on Amazon.
⭐ You can download the printable files using these links:
More parenting tips for teaching kids how manage their emotions
>> Want to remember this? Save these ideas to your favorite Pinterest board!