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Our family had the privilege last Sunday to go a see Inside Out. I had heard nothing but great things about it. And to be honest, I had been looking forward to seeing it when the very fist trailer came out many months ago. In fact, I even sent the trailer to my hubby by email and told him how great I thought the movie would be for our girls.
You see, in our family we talk about emotions all the time. No really… all the time.
You may or may not know but my girls are adopted from foster care. Over 6 years ago when they were 4 and 3 we picked them up, sight unseen, from the airport. Then proceeded to take them home and go from being married 14 years with no kids to overnight parents of toddlers. And these weren’t ordinary toddlers, but toddlers with trauma.
It quickly became obvious my oldest basically had PTSD and our family was in for a long road of healing. Anger, sadness and fear were “driving” all the time so the road was rough.
Thankfully, as time has past we have been able to incorporate many strategies, including helping them understand emotions are a part of that healing process and have come a long way.
One of the techniques we have used is learning how to calm down and would love to share a “Calm Down Kit” the girls and I created (and why the tools in it are so great!).
To put together our “Calm Down Kit” I headed to my local Walmart and picked up a few Inside Out Plushies and Inside Out Fruit snacks.
- Stress Ball (or semi squishy ball)- Both molding dough and a stress ball help release anger and relax the body and mind (source)
- Molding Dough
- Gum- Chewing gum can possibly help relief stress and calm nerves (source)
- Something chewy like Inside Out Fruit snacks (similar to gum)
- Bubble wrap- Popping bubble wrap is calming and therapeutic (source)
- Bubbles- (Might want to do this one outside) Blowing bubbles does the same thing deep breathing does for your body. It calms it down. (source)
- A huggable friend like a Walmart exclusive Inside out plush product- A favorite comfort object like a stuffed toy to hug can help kids feel safe and calm. (source)
- A Journal (not shown)- keep a blank journal and pencils or crayons in your kids Calm Down Kit so they can write or draw their thoughts and feelings. (source)
Grab an small box or basket and place all your “tools” inside. Make sure you store your “calm down kit” in a place where your kiddo can get it when they need it.
Depending on your child the above box might be a safe way for them to calm down on their own or it might be something you share together to aid them in self-regulation. After my girls calm down from anger or fear we often talk about feelings, what happened and how things could have gone differently.
What kinds of things help your kiddos calm down from a hard day, sadness, fear, anger or disappointment? What would you put in your “Calm Down Kit”? Please share your thoughts in the comments.