Do your kids ever get upset and angry?
I know!! Not your kids… lol. My kids are perfectly calm at all times- as most children are!
Of course, I am joking. All kids get mad, angry, and frustrated. It is a normal part of being a human. The problem isn’t the emotions of anger and frustration. The problem is how we react once we have that emotion.
Of course, we all get angry and frustrated sometimes. As parents, we have to teach our kids how to navigate their extreme emotions and learn how to calm down.
Giving our kids different tools and techniques to help them manage and control their strong feelings gives them tools to help navigate life’s many ups and downs. We cannot protect our kids from big emotions or frustrations. We can give them tools to help them deal with them.
One of the many ways we can calm down is by using a physical item that helps us calm down by focusing on something other than our anger and helping us learn to regulate our breathing.
When a child (or an adult) is frustrated and angry, they can take the jar and shake it. While watching the glitter swirls around, they can do one of two things:
- Watch the flakes swirl. When you focus on something other than your intense emotions, your anger slows, and your negative feeling slows down. This can help you calm down. Once you are calm, you are much more readily able to think through the problem with logic rather than emotion. Doing this can help you focus on solutions rather than the problem.
- Regulate Their Breathing. While the glitter is swirling and settling, you can practice timing your breathing to the movements in the Jar. Taking deep breaths and then releasing them is a very effective calm-down tool and can help with frustration and pain management.
When to Make a Calm-Down Jar
Discuss with your children the purpose of the calm-down jar and make one fun family activity. Do not try to do this when your child is upset! Making the jar is a fun project- discuss the point of it but don’t make it the only point of the project.
I love these glitter jars because it’s a great Sunday activity and craft and has the dual purpose of helping them calm down. However, they won’t want to make it if you preach too much about the point. So instead, discuss the concept with your kids and then focus on the fun aspect of the craft.
I’m always looking for great crafts and activities to make with my kids on a budget. This is just one of the many that I have discovered over the past few years- it’s a great indoor activity to do with your kids when you are stuck at home.
We have made them twice already!
How to Make a Calm Down Jar
Supplies for a Glitter Jar
You can use plastic or glass. You can buy these or try to find something in your home that you can recycle and use for this project. Peanut butter jars, jelly jars, etc., are all great jars for this purpose.
Glitter Jar Directions
Fill the jar with warm water, approximately ¾ full.
Add glitter glue and stir until well mixed.
Add 2-3 drops of food coloring. Mix.
Add fine glitter and stir.
Add a few pumps of liquid soap and mix well.
Close the jar and shake. At this point, you can add more of any of the ingredients if you wish.
Secure the Glitter Jar well. You can either hot glue gun the cap to the jar or use strong tape to make sure it doesn’t loosen.
How To Use the Calm Down Jar
Keep the calm down jar in an easily accessible place.
Discuss with your child how they can use and play with the calm-down jar,
When your child is frustrated or annoyed, ask if they would like to use the calm-down jar. If they say yes, Have them shake the jar and either watch the flakes or practice breathing with them. If they do not want to use it, then do not force it. Have it available as an option that they can use but don’t pressure them to use it. It will probably backfire, and your children won’t ever use it as a productive tool if they are forced or pressured to use it.
make a calm down jar when you are stuck at home with your kids. great activity and great tool to help you and your kids deal with any big feelings
With time, your child will use it on their own without prompting. You may see that they stop using it altogether but still retain the breathing practices even without it.
You can model this behavior by using the calm-down jar when you become frustrated. (I have done this, and it helps when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious or have sensory overload!)
Take the jar and use it for breathing or watching the glitter in the jar swirl and settle. You will see the calming effects, and you will be teaching your children the right way to act in a stressful situation.
Teaching kids about emotions is an integral part of being a parent. Reading books about complex topics is one of the best ways to introduce children to important issues and encourage conversation. If you are looking for the best children’s books about feelings, you can check out this post: Children’s Books About Feelings. See if you can spot a contribution from yours truly!