Last year I made this EQ Box for my kids. Have you heard of them? These have also been called calming kits, coping kits, etc. The purpose of them is to provide tools for the child to regulate their emotions.
I made this one for about $6.50 (CAD, including the packaging) and got most of the supplies from the Party supply store and the Dollarstore. Each item has a unique purpose, and I took advantage of each item as an educational opportunity, to teach my toddler how/when to use it. It certainly comes in handy! Placed in a pencil case, it could be brought to school, and brought on the go.
If you'd like to make one, I'll explain the purpose for each item below, along with a quick "how to" for the glitter jar.
Bubbles are a great way to visually cue slow, deep breathing. When they blow bubbles, they have to intentionally breathe in, hold it for a second, and blow it back out slowly, to make the bubbles flow from the wand. Kids can do this by themselves, when they need to "take a breather", or you can do it with them, taking turns. This same task can be accomplished with a handheld windmill, a feather (watch it move), a flower, or pretending to cool off your hot chocolate/chicken soup. Whatever works for each child.
2. Notebook & Crayons This one is pretty simple - it gives kids a chance to express their feelings in a way that comes naturally to them, through coloring/drawing. Children's vocabulary is usually not as robust as an adults, therefore giving them another method to get it out, or communicate to us, is super important.
3. Play Doh
Homemade or store bought, this stuff always hits gold. It is a pleasant tactile experience. It literally wakes our senses. We naturally tune into way it feels in our hands, the way it bends and morphs, the way it smells (some smell better than others, try adding a drop or two of lavender essential oil for an added calming effect). Secondly, when a child is worrying, nervous, heightened, or anything that makes them feel "out of touch", play doh is grounding. It brings them back to reality. It takes their head out of the clouds, so to speak, and tunes them back into their 5 senses (well, 3 or 4, I hope), which "grounds" them.
4. Glitter Jar
Here is another visual cue - just swirl the jar quickly, then set it down. Watch the glitter swirl around, watch it slow down, and as it slows down, slow your breathing, your thoughts, imagine your thoughts and breathing slowing down with the glitter. Watch until the very end, when it all settles back to the bottom.
How To: Use a jar (a recycled mason jar from pasta sauce or jam or something) with a seal, fill it with water, add a few drops of clear dish soap, and then add your glitter. Close it tight so it doesn't leak everywhere :) That's it!
5. Stress Ball
This came in a kit of 6 from the party supply store, but you can use any type of stress ball (flour in a balloon works - tip: use a funnel to get the flour in, and double up your balloon). So, this is the same for adults and children - squeeze, hold tight, then relax. It helps you release tension from your muscles. You can do this in other ways, too. Hold the stress ball tightly between your knees, or under your foot pushing it to the floor, or in between 2 hands pressed together... anything that requires you to release muscles. You can also use just 1 of these as a starting point for whole body tension release. Just follow up the stress ball squeeze with a head to toe muscle release. Start at your forehead, notice the tension you're holding... then relax that muscle group. Move to your ears, cheeks, jaw, mouth, neck, shoulders, back, belly, arms, hands, legs, feet, and toes. Try it for yourself first, you might be pleasantly surprised (I did it just now, while writing this, and benefited from it!)
Do you have other ideas to add to this kit? send me a message, or comment on this post! I hope you and your child/ren enjoy your new EQ box!!