If you’ve got a kiddo who’s prone to anxiety or gets easily overwhelmed, try out this easy at-home strategy for calming. It’s a preplanned kit with coping skills galore.
To make your very own Chill Out Box start by gathering your child’s favorite comfort items. Make sure your child gets to help choose things for the box! You’ll want to make sure to incorporate items that address the 5 senses. Focusing on the senses is a mindfulness activity that can help kids feel more present and therefore reduces anxiety.
Here some of examples of items that you might include:
- Sight: photo album of loved ones, souvenirs from past trips, favorite books
- Hearing: preferred music, nature sounds •
- Smell: scented lotion like lavender, eucalyptus, or whatever your child prefers
- Touch: a soft stuffed animal to hug, a stress ball to squeeze, or a blanket to wrap up in
- Taste: strong favors like mints/gum, or foods that crunch in your mouth like pretzels or raw veggies
Place the finished product in a private area where your child can go for some down time. The Chill Out Box can be implemented when you start to notice your child becoming anxious, or better yet, at a scheduled time each day as a way to prevent anxious episodes. It is also a good idea to leave a timer nearby with the expectation that your child relaxes for a set length of time depending on their age. Praise them each time they use it to reinforce positive coping.
Once your child masters the Chill Out Box routine, they will start coping with their anxiety independently; leaving you with some chill out time of your own!