By C.B. Fosbrink
Every adult experiences it: stress with friends, family, life changes or general daily anxieties. Research tells us, as adults, to meditate, journal or even yoga our troubles away. And most adults do recognize and figure out the strategies that work the most effectively for themselves, and may even not need assistance doing so. We may find, however, that teenagers and children are not able to handle situational changes or unexpected problems that occur in their day to day lives. Though there are a lot of anxiety relieving methods that children can do, one such practice can be highly effective with helping kids put issues into perspective.
Relaxation Kits or Calm Down Kits are collections of items that sparks a child’s specific interest while providing sensory tools which can help kids focus and be calm. These kits can help anxiety and relieve stress by allowing kids to cope with their feelings on their own. If your child is overstimulated, these kits can help with refocusing. The key is to choose what works for your child. So, think about including them in the process of picking the items in their kit.
Anyone can make a Relaxation kit, as they are fairly easy to create. Below are some suggestions of what to put in your child’s kit.
· Books, specifically at their reading level
· Stress balls (Ask for suggested colors from your child)
· Play Dough or Putty, think about calming colors such as blues, purples and greens.
· Fuzzy socks
· A stuffed animals to cuddle with (Make sure to keep this stuffed animal only with the kit)
· Weighted blankets, which help with anxiety, but only use 10% of the child’s body weight. Try this selection
· Aromatherapy sprays (Adult’s spray 1–2 sprays such as lavender)
· Calming music such as beach waves or wind blowing.
· Bubbles with a simple wand for blowing.
· Fidget Spinners or Pop Bubble Fidget Sensory Toys (Amazon has a great selection)
· A small Etch-a-Sketch (Dollar Tree has inexpensive models)
· Coloring books
If your child has Autism, consider using more sensory based items in your child’s Relaxation kits. Be sure to supervise your child with a few of the items listed below:
· Cotton Balls
If you would like more information on Sensory boxes for children with Autism, check out https://www.speciallearninghouse.com/sensory-box-ideas-child-autism/.
Personally, I have a daughter who was anxious about schoolwork for many years. She also had separation anxiety and struggled if I would leave her side, especially in the evening. Together, we bought a plastic bin from a bargain store along with a few items she enjoyed playing with such as puzzles, glitter, and watercolor paints. When Grandma and Grandpa were babysitting, they would bring out her Relaxation Kit when she was anxious. She is a teenager now, and she handles her stress and anxiety very well and understands what items help her to put everything in perspective.
The CDC states that 4.4 million kids are experiencing some type of anxiety, which is the fear caused by behavioral disturbances. Relaxation Kits help kids express themselves which can help kids to develop coping skills.
Along with your kid’s kit, consider a calm down corner in your house, something away from a lot of stimulation. And don’t forget to ease your child into the idea of a Relaxation Kit, use positive tones, and get their feedback so they can be included in this process.
Poppy Life Care is a great reference for kids who struggle with anxiety and depression. We offer support for families and look to empower kids and adults who are struggling with these daily challenges. Our experts can help! Click here to schedule a consultation. We are all in this together!
CDC.gov. (2020). Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html.
FreNoy, A. (2021) 25 Sensory Box Ideas for Children with Autism. Retrieved from https://www.speciallearninghouse.com/sensory-box-ideas-child-autism/.
Robson, D. (2021). 40+ Thinks to put in a calm down kit for kids. Retrieved from https://www.andnextcomesl.com/2016/04/what-to-put-in-a-calm-down-kit-for-kids.html.