All About Calm Down Kits for Sensory-Sensitive Kids
by Jaime Friedman
July 20, 2022
What is a Calm Down Kit?
A Calm Down Kit, or Calm Down Box, is a container with sensory featured items meant to calm someone down. People diagnosed with different anxiety disorders, Autism or other sensory-related disorders often feel overwhelmed by things that they may encounter in the span of a day. A Calm Down Box has toys and fidget spinners to distract the child’s attention while they cool down from an episode. Your child can customize their box by picking the things that are the most pleasing aesthetically to them and finding a place for it, so they consciously learn where to go and how to handle panic attacks or anxiety-induced episodes.
Expected Outcome of using a Calm Down Box
The purpose of having a Calm Down Box available for sensory-sensitive kids is to have the right tools ready to deescalate stressful situations. The items in the kit work almost like a pacifier for emotions. By occupying a child’s senses with pleasing aesthetics, these objects help them relax and forget about what caused the problem.
If a child is sensitive to sensory stimulus, different experiences have a greater effect on his or her sensory perceptions. Things that most people can process quickly might overload someone with sensory sensitivity. If an experience is too much to handle for someone, ideally, they would be able to escape with their Calm Down Box and occupy their physical energy while the sensory neurons in their brains get time to cool down. It creates a sensory safe space where the child can find sanctuary and regain control of their thoughts.
Calm Down Kits teach self-regulation and can also promote better habits. These kits do not only work for a crisis. Children can make using their fidget toys a part of their routine by using them to ease any tension while waiting to leave for school or a doctor’s appointment or helping them decompress at the end of the day before bed. Screen time on tablets or computers can have similar effects calming down certain kids, but the light given off by screens is actually stimulating. This makes Calm Down Boxes ideal for before bed.
How to Use a Calm Down Box
There are a few ways to implement a Calm Down Box for your child. Depending on your child’s needs, you may want to have a Calm Down Box and a smaller mobile kit to take with you outside the house. Especially for the kit at home, it should be able to be accessed by the child easily, without help. If there is a tantrum or crisis, they will know exactly where to go to manage it. If you would like to make it a fixture in your child’s schedule, like before bed for example, having a timer close by could help.
As for the contents of a Calm Down Kit, they can be customized by the child. Try objects that appeal to all five senses. Putty, clay, sand, stress balls and fidget toys are all excellent for the tactile senses. Hard candy to suck on can occupy taste and maybe some olfactory senses. Oils the child can smell, like lavender, also soothe olfactory senses. Kaleidoscopes or possibly stereoscopes can appeal to visual senses. A music box, or a good enough seashell can calm auditory senses. Even if the shell echoes a softer ocean, concentrating on listening for the sound can help.
What Kinds of Children Can Benefit from a Calm Down Kit
Calm Down Kits are helpful for children learning to self-regulate emotions. Whether or not a child has a disorder that affects their sensory perception, they are growing up in a technological age where their brains can easily be over-stimulated. Calm Down Kits give children breaks as needed to relieve anxiety, stress, anger and other unwanted emotions.
They specifically help children that cannot easily process senses and emotions. This can mean being distracted or overwhelmed by external stimulus. That makes Calm Down Kits beneficial for children dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder.
Benefits of Utilizing a Calm Down Kit
Using a Calm Down Box is a form of treatment. Your child will be able to relieve symptoms while also learning self-care strategies. The ability to keep calm in the face of stress and manage it is one of the hardest skills to master. The act of walking away to the kit creates the habit of taking a step back from overwhelming problems before facing them, so your child will be essentially practicing emotional self-regulation skills.
Calm Down Kits are also essential for emergencies. If your son or daughter is prone to violent tantrums, preparing a kit can prevent them from hurting themselves, hurting others or breaking something. A mobile kit might even save a night out. You can help your child cool off somewhere and readjust to the surroundings without going all the way home to feel safe.
Where to Buy a Calm Down Kit
You can collect materials individually and build your own Calm Down Box with the right sensory objects. There are also preprepared kits available online. You can build your own kit or find the right combination of tools in a premade package. The box itself does not have to be made a certain way. The objects it holds should be chosen to meet the needs of the Calm Down Kit’s owner.
How to Create Your Own Calm Down Kit
You can create your own Calm Down Kit with sensory objects that appeal to your child. Let them decide which things ease their nerves the most and collect them in a container. The more the child customizes their Calm Down Kit, the better, because it shows them taking ownership. The kit and self-regulation practices become a part of your child’s life and daily routine.
When making a mobile kit, make sure the container is easy to conceal, and pack light. Only stick to your child’s favorite objects, or you can have them pack their Calm Down Box themselves.
A Calm Down Box is an important tool for any child learning to manage their emotions. It’s crucial for kids with sensory sensitivity because it is impossible for them to live independently without learning to manage overwhelming experiences. Calm Down Kits guide children through tantrums, panic attacks, and managing self-regulation of their thoughts and mood. Calm Down Kit users are encouraged to personalize their kits as much as possible, because they will know what works best for them.