My oldest daughter recently started going to a new therapist for her severe anxiety. I am amazed at the difference in her I have seen just by finding the right therapist! She never opened up to our last therapist and the new one just has her talking and being free in our sessions. Recently she had my girl create a calm box for her anxieties and worries. Whenever she feels scared or nervous, she can pull out the objects in the box to try and soothe her worries.
Creating a Calm Box for Your Child
A calm box is a type of box includes different items for kids with anxiety. Some calm boxes are catered to certain anxiety disorders, like items that make a child with anger issues settle down their mind, while other boxes include different colors and textures for kids with sensory issues. My daughter has issues with general anxiety and it helped to make her box pretty and fun with decorations outside, while putting things inside the box that would help slow her racing thoughts when she gets panicky.
Something Soft and Cuddly
The first thing you should include in a calm box for kids with anxiety is something soft and cuddly that they can hold onto. This is good for kids who are having a panic attack or whose anxiety is helped by holding onto something. If your child usually goes for their favorite pillow or stuffed animal in bed when they are worried or anxious about something, it is a good sign that this is an item to help them calm down. You can even bring them to the store with you to pick out their favorite stuffed animal. My daughter loves stuffed animals and often walks around with them. Feeling something soft and being able to hug this object is very calming.
Many children do well when they can distract their minds from what is giving them anxiety, so include some activities in the calm box. This might be coloring books and crayons or colored pencils, a sketchbook with pencils, or other activities like a jewelry making kit or clay to make mold objects. There are a lot of different toys and activities you can buy or put together that will give your child something to do that expresses their creative nature, while also providing anxiety relief. One thing our therapist added to my daughter’s box were coloring sheets and dot-to-dot pages. She even added an incentive that if my daughter colored them, she would get one extra prize for each coloring sheet to put in her calm box.
Fidget toys are good for many kids with anxiety as well. These are another way to keep your child’s focus on something else. The fidget toys might have textures that are good for kids with sensory issues, like balls of slime, while others just keep them occupied like finger squeezers or stress balls. Then there are items like funky pencil toppers with bright colors, but also that can be moved around when they want to fidget with something. I got my daughter a fidget cube on a whim and she now keeps it in her desk at school! It helps with daily anxieties in class.
Various Colors and Textures
In addition to the fidget toys, you might want to put other items that have various colors and textures. This will depend on the age of your child and what they are most interested in. Just think of items they can use, figure out, or play with that will give them more textures and bright colors to bring them away from what is giving them anxiety and focus on their other senses.
When my daughter made her calm box, her therapist told her exactly what it was, what it is for, and why she needs it. She’s really enjoyed having the box so far and even tells people about it. I think when we have some downtime I will work with her on decorating it more and filling it with more items.
Do you have ideas of other items that can go in the calm box? Please comment below with your ideas and suggestions!