No one in the history of time has ever calmed down from being told to CALM DOWN. In fact, just the opposite is what usually happens anytime those two words are muttered. So what can you do when your child is nervously waiting for their first day of school, refusing to go to the dentist or running in circles out of excitement? If telling your child to calm down isn’t the answer, what is?
What you need is a toolkit of calm down tools and strategies that you can access before, during and after a crisis. Over the last 7 years, I have been gathering and researching some of the best calming strategies and techniques to build my calming toolbox for my family and today I want to share my massive list of over 100 Calm Down Tools and Strategies you can try today!
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It is no secret we are huge fans of calm down tools around here. From sensory hacks to calm and angry child to calm down retreats to calm sensory overload, we are all about some calm down tools. You see, when you have a child that gets overwhelmed easily or gets frustrated with their environment on daily basis, you start to gather resources to help them survive their days.
What are Calm Down Tools?
Since anxiety, anger and sensory overload can present itself in so many variations and so many behaviors, it can be beneficial to have an arsenal or stockpile of possible calming strategies or tools to use in the moment. Let’s dig in just a little more about the difference between the two.
Calming Tools | One might describe everything you do in an effort to calm down a “calming tool”. However, for the purpose of this, I want to draw your attention to the external objects that can be helpful in calming a variety of anxious feelings. We will dig into these in just a bit, but these items can range from sensory bottles to squish balls, and from visuals to essential oils. Think of it almost as tools that help calm the senses.
Calming Strategies | Calming strategies on the other hand are practices, exercises and thoughts we take control of or try when we see anxiety rising. This could be mindfulness, breathing, exercise and even cuing from a parent or adult.
What are the Benefits of Calm Down Tools?
There are a myriad of benefits to various calm down tools and strategies, the key is finding the tools and strategies that work best with your child.
Benefits of Calming Tools and Strategies
- Gives child ownership over emotions
- Provides sensory input
- Increases awareness of feelings and triggers
- Increases flexibility
- Helps a child remain calm
- Reduces inappropriate behaviors
- Helps develop independence
- Give a visual representation and way to communicate with others
- Reduces anxiety over anticipated events
Behaviors That Can Be Calmed with Tools and Strategies
- Refusing Sleep
- Anxious Feelings
- Mood Regulation
- Nail Biting
- Avoiding Public Places
- Refusing to Go to School
- Upset Stomachs
- Physical Aggression
I could go on and on. If you can’t tell already calm down tools are good for all children (and even adults. Not only are they good for children with developmental differences like children with sensory processing disorder or on the autism spectrum, but these are great for helping all children learn to self-sooth and cope as they grow and develop.
When Should Calm Down Tools Be Used?
Calm down tools and strategies can be used any time before, during or after an anxious thought or feeling. They can be used to prevent a meltdown or used to calm fidgety legs before a performance. Whatever the case may be calming strategies work with practice, consistency and repetition.
You can’t expect your child to calm down with the first sight of a glitter bottle if you have never introduced them during a non-threatening moment.
- New Tasks
- Social Events
- Routines that Tend to Cause Anxiety
- Difficult Decision Making
- Anticipation of Events
- Feelings/Emotions Charts
- Sibling Problem Solving
- Undesirable Activities
- Before and After School
- Heightened States of Arousal
- High Stress Situations
- When Children are Hurt
- Bedtime Routines
- Before Homework or Schoolwork
100 Calm Down Tools and Strategies You Can Use Today
The secret to making these calm down tools work is to practice. I can’t say it enough times. PRACTICE these skills and using these tools over and over again. If they don’t work the first time (or in our case the 20th time) don’t give up. Keep practicing, keep learning, keep believing that your child will learn the skills needed to manage their own anxiety and calm the chaos.
Plastic Snow Globe
Light Up Toys
Scratch and Sniff
Noise Canceling Ear Muffs
Count to Ten
Blow out a Candle
Get a Hug
Push Against a Wall
Take a Walk
Ask for a Break
Use Positive Affirmations
Drink Something Cold
Take a Bath with Epsom Salts
Rice Sensory Bins
Hum a Song
Picture Your Happy Place
Defeat Thought Monsters
Puffer Fish Breath
Squeeze a Pillow
Play with a Pet
Push on a Wall
Turn Into a Pretzel
Look at a Photo Album
Hug a Stuffed Animal
Take a Shower
Think, Feel, Act
How do I feel Chart
Hiss Like a Snake
Sing the ABCs
Name Your Worries
Listen to a Rainstick
Suck on Ice
Make Body Shapes
Bean Bag Games
Carry a Backpack
Bounce on a Ball
Build with Blocks
Do a Puzzle
Ride a Bike
Play an Instrument
Drink a Smoothie
Climb a Tree
Make Scented Jars
Wrap in a Blanket
I could go on and on because this really is something that I have a passion for. We are always adding to our toolkits and our strategies. By now, I could probably list hundred more activities and/or tools to use for calming anxiety and anxious feelings, however, I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. The key is to start simple, model, and practice.
Print this Free 100 Calm Down Tools Cheat Sheet
This post comes with a free printable to help with you in a bind.
I have made a simple printable for you that has all of these phrases in a simple and easy to display format. Place it on the fridge, in a frame or even in your child’s calm down spot so they remember them as well. Don’t get caught struggling to remember your options!
This printable simplifies it!
Here is a sneak preview…
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly newsletter! Click Here to Download and Subscribe
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator.
Note: If your child’s worries are impacting their school functioning, sleep or eating habits, or are negatively impacting their daily routine, seek support from a mental health professional.
Need More Help with Your Anxious Child?
I have been researching for the last two years to find the best resources for calming an anxious child and I think I have found some pretty amazing secrets that I can’t wait to share with you!
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