by: Allison Cooke Douglas
We’ve used a “Calm Down Box” with our child for years. It’s full of tools they can use when they are beginning to escalate. This is a specific child’s box, so it’s tailored to his specific sensory needs; yours would not look exactly the same. We offer it to him as he escalates or if he’s in a stressful situation. I also carry many of these objects in my purse to use when we’re in the community, as well.
This isn’t a ‘cure’ for meltdowns or sensory overload, but it’s very helpful for many kids, including mine. Some of the contents include: gum (great for meeting proprioceptive sensory needs), infant toothbrush for chewing, lotion, hand sanitizer, fidgets and stress balls, glow sticks, tiny jar of bubbles, stretchy toys, roll-on of essential oil blend, Rescue Remedy spray, a candle he likes to smell, crystals and smooth stones, brush for Wilbarger Protocol (OT brushing), erasers because he likes to pick them apart and this gives him something appropriate to do that with and usually a non-perishable snack (but he already ate it today).
The box is always evolving. So don’t give up if your child doesn’t use all or even any of the contents. Rotate things out because they may use them at a different time. Most everything except the essential oils, Rescue Remedy and crystals/gems was purchased from the Dollar Tree!
Everything in the box may be thrown or broken in the midst of a tough meltdown. And if they are, don’t worry – it’s OK.
Just don’t give up on teaching the child to use her/his tools.