Creating a Toddler-Proof Calm Box

If you have a toddler, you’ve at some point experienced the infamous tantrum.

tan·trum

/ˈtantrəm/ noun

an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child.

It has the simplest definition, that can have the most complicated and emotionally draining side effects.  They can be big, or small. They can happen in the middle of a crowded restaurant because you ordered apple juice instead of lemonade.  Or maybe it happens in the comfort of your own home as your toddler’s upset because you told them it was time to eat lunch. Or these wonderful events may occur while at someone else’s house where you have to quietly walk outside because you told them they couldn’t have any Swedish Fish.

The point is, most toddlers have an inside banche waiting to come out.  And if you have a toddler, and have never had a meltdown, please write a book about how you managed to do that, and teach me.  I would be willing to sell my soul for it.

Tantrums and meltdowns are the most draining parts of being a mom (for me).  Most of the time, I don’t mind the constant clean up or the constrained schedules of nap and bedtime, but the irrational tantrums that I can NOT remedy with pure logic, is the bain of my existence.  Many times, I’m pretty sure I look at my husband and say, “I think I’m not built to be a mom.” Everly is already a very vocal and strong willed little girl. For the most part, she is excellent at accepting the word, “NO,” but when her inner banche is unleashed, it’s a true live emergency.  There are loud noises, screaming, casualties, and running, all from a small ticking time bomb.  

Most of the time, we have to wait it out, but sometimes the wait is too long.  Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of waiting when you are in a public place. I searched online for different methods, looked in my mommy groups, and this idea of a “calm box.” had come up a few times.  It seemed too easy, but I thought I would give it a try.


What is a calm box?

The objective of a Calm Box is to encourage a child to take time, use some tools within the box to self-regulate and calm down their feelings of intense anger or emotion.    I found these boxes are sold in a lot of places (For adults and children). But these can also be made in very inexpensive ways through sensory tools and activities that you can create for your toddler. 

I personally love having a mix of both consistent activities/physical motions that my daughter can do to calm herself, and pair them with something that is sensory.  


Here are the 5 different activities/exercises that we usually use when Everly throws her fit:

  1. Smell the flower and blow out the candle.  When she’s throwing her fit, I’ll hold an imaginary flower towards her, and ask her to smell the flower.  To get her to exhale big, I hold up 2 fingers and tell her to blow out those candles. I repeat until she’s calmed down.
  2. Put your hands in the air and breathe.  Sometimes physically showing them to put their hands in the air is a small enough distraction to redirect emotions.
  3. Touch your toes.  Same as above.
  4. Count my fingers.  This encourages a pause from the situation by counting to 10.  
  5. Hold their hand on your chest while you hum.  This sounds odd, but it’s part activity distraction and part sensory.  Hum a calming tune your toddler will respond to, and they feel the vibration from your throat or chest which can be calming.  If they’re able to, have them do this on their own.

On the sensory side, Lemon Lime Adventures has a great post about sensory hacks specifically for an angry child.  Dayna is a National Board Certified teacher with Early Child Development background.  I admired her story of parenting and the methods she used for her son who was diagnosed with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  She talks about how sensory is part of her child’s frustration and anger, and shared some really great sensory hacks posted below that I think are great additions to a calm box:

  1. Use glitter glue to make these Lego Calm Down Jars. Simply shake and wait for the calming to begin.
  2. Making worry stones for children to use when they are feeling nervous or anxious. Great to use in the car, at a desk or on the go.
  3. These DIY stress relievers are a great hack to creating your own squeezy tool. Have kids squeeze and take out their anger on these instead of hitting or pushing others.
  4. Make a Mermaid Fabric Weighted Lap Pad for your child give them some deep pressure and a fun sensory lap pad!
  5. 2 simple ingredients will help you make DIY Squeeze Balls for your child to use anytime they are angry. Squeezing the balloons helps provide proprioceptive input and organizes their sensory system.
  6. Make a DIY Squoosh Box out of a cardboard box to give your child somewhere to calm down.
  7. If you are looking for something to have on hand at all times, you can put together an anti-anxiety kit  complete with essential oils, songs, and stress balls.
  8. Make a fire-breathing dragon out of a simple cup to practice calming breathes.
  9. A DIY Crash Pad is a fantastic place for your angry child to thrash and bang around without hurting them or anyone else.
  10. Use ice cubes to create these awesome calm down cubes for your classroom.
  11. Use pillows or stuffed animals to make a pillow cave to provide joint compression to help your child organize their nervous system while calming down.

READ HER FULL STORY HERE: https://lemonlimeadventures.com/sensory-hacks-calm-an-angry-child/

Will this work for every child?  NO. Every child is different. Every child responds to things differently.  If anything, we hope this gives you some inspiration, on other methods for calming your child’s emotions.  Whether it’s a calm box, a time-out, time alone, or whatever, find what works for you!

Share your stories and successes with the community.  

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One thought on “Creating a Toddler-Proof Calm Box

  1. Pingback: Our Secret Weapon to Toddler Tantrums – Oh, Everly!…

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