Calm down jars are a great resource for therapists, teachers, and parents – for a lot of children, calm down jars really help with emotional regulation. It can also be a lot of fun to make these with children, as they then have some control over the content and color of the calm down jar. There are a lot of different websites offering instructions on how to make them. Some are fairly simple, while others are complex and have multiple different sizes of glitter. I’ve listed just a few:
- This one has Legos inside of it! http://lemonlimeadventures.com/lego-calm-down-jar/
If you are like me and really DIY-challenged, you can also buy a calm down jar. I bought this one off Amazon (look here) and it’s terrific – the kids like it, it’s visually appealing, and it’s sturdy. You can also search for different colors; I got purple.
When your kiddo gets upset, you could just plop this down in front of them and tell them to watch it. Or… you could use it as a teaching moment with a great metaphor. You can shake up the bottle and explain that when we feel upset, our insides might feel like the shaken-up bottle. We might feel like we have no control and that we’re about to explode! However, it’s possible to calm down!! Once kids understand this metaphor, I instruct them to watch the insides of the bottle settle or calm down and imagine that the same thing is happening inside of their bodies. This makes using a calm down jar more than just a visual distraction (though I will admit that the visual distraction helps too!).