Calm Down Basket

Calm Down Basket
Momentous Institute
By Momentous Institute Dec 29, 2014

We’ve all been there – overcome with emotion, angry, frustrated. Sitting in traffic for 45 minutes? Not the best way to start the day. How would we feel if every morning when sitting in traffic, the only way we knew how to handle our feelings was just to scream and act out? Our blood pressure and anxiety would go up, and we’d just make ourselves even more frustrated. But fortunately we have other ways of coping with these feelings, whether it’s switching on some good tunes, saying a quiet mantra or prayer, or taking deep breaths. (And let’s face it, sometimes we still scream and act out!)
 
If this is what it’s like for adults, imagine what it is like to be a young child overcome with emotion. Kids who are young don’t yet know about identifying their feelings, isolating the element that is frustrating, and working on coping solutions. Often young kids just are angry, or frustrated, or sad, or excited, and don’t have an outlet for their big emotions.
 
Enter the calm down basket.
 
Simply put, the calm down basket is a small collection of tools that can help a kid regulate herself when she’s feeling overwhelmed. We use these in our classroom and therapy offices where a kid can have easy access to it. The basket is full of small objects – things like a stress ball, silly putty, a kaleidoscope, and toys with a variety of textures. We also stock each basket with the glitter ball.
 
Any time a child is feeling overwhelmed, she can choose to grab something from the calm down basket. Often a child will just need a few minutes alone to self-regulate. But asking a child to sit in the corner and calm down will often not get the results we hope for. Instead, giving her something to hold and do with her hands while she calms down will be a good distraction.
 
Often when young kids act out, it is a call for skill building. The child is telling us, “I am overwhelmed. I don’t have the tools to calm myself down.” When we can help a child find the tools she needs, we are setting her up for long-term success.

©2018 Momentous Institute
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