Hello, Kansas City! Emotions can be tough to navigate, and even harder for kiddos. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, shares some tidbits of a rough patch in her and her son’s life, and what they did to cope. They opted for simplicity with a Calm Down box. Take a look!
How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a
Calm Down Box
Several months ago I was looking back through some old photos and was brought back to the photo below.
The photo served as a bitter sweet memory….. it reminded me of when my son and I became just the two of us and no longer the three of us. This was a very hard time for the all of us… he lost his comfort, his familiarity of having both parents under the same roof, his routine, his home, and feeling of being a family unit. His whole world was torn apart without his say so.
For the first time ever he had to deal with adult emotions within himself, yet was still only a child.
I attempted to create a place for him to feel comfortable talking, expressing emotions, and being able to be heard. He attended weekly check-ins with the school counselor, went to a divorce support group, had very supportive grandparents and aunts and uncles, and his father was amazing with communicating with him. Yet, he was still struggling with a web of confusing emotions.
Who could blame him?
I wanted to let him know he was not alone. None of us wanted this, and we would still be a family — just a different family then what he was used to. I spent hours thinking of what I could do to create a safe place for him to express himself. We lived in a very small apartment, so I knew space was an issue. However, I knew this was a necessity for his emotional well-being.
While I was attempting to find a solution I remember my favorite childhood hiding place was my closet.
The moment I thought of that it was as if a light bulb went off….. so just like that we created his Calm Down /Chill out closet. I put a little art table in there and then took him on a “Calm Down Mission”.
We spent the day finding things here and there that made him feel calm, safe, understood, and loved. We had so much fun together. I wanted him to know that emotions are normal… it is okay to be pissed off, to cry, to be angry, and not understand why things are happening.
He went into store after store, finding things to put in his “calm place.” We returned home with smiles on our faces and a memory that would last us forever. We both agreed that all of the items we bought would be strictly for his calm down space. They could only be used when he felt frustrated, angry, sad, etc. They were not meant for everyday use. He did a great job at sticking to this.
We also agreed that he could access his calm down place on his own at any time (no explanation needed).
After all, this was his place to escape not mine. He absolutely loved this idea. He used this “safety zone” for over a year. We added things here and there… but for the most part his comfort items remained the same.
I am so glad that we created something that allowed him to feel but more importantly allowed him to heal.
If you are thinking of creating a “Calm Down Space” or “Calm Down Box” for your child I highly encourage you to make it with them. Remind yourself this is for their comfort, emotional health, and for THEM to come to terms with things. This is not for you to pick a part. Let them be in control. Trust me, that in itself will help them heal.
Here is what my son put in his calm down box…
• “I Spy Book”
• Scratch and Sniff stickers
• Stress balls
• Blank journal
• Colored pencils
• Special writing pen
• Silly putty
• A pin wheel
• Doodle books
• Activity books
• Framed Family picture
• Family photo album ( mostly of pictures of us laughing and having fun)
• Blank index cards
I am looking forward to hearing what you and your children come up with! Here’s to building happy and healthy hearts through one family at a time! Connect with me on Facebook for inspirational posts over at Living Life With Leah.
From iFamily to Yours,