Calm Down Basket
What is it?
The calm down basket is a tool to help children self-regulate. A small collection of items in a container in one designated place, children learn to use each item which involves using the breath or the senses. When a child is feeling overwhelmed by big feelings she learns to use something from the Calm Down Basket to help. Usually, a child will just need a minute or two alone to accomplish this. Noticing and adjusting what you are doing is the skill of self-regulation!
What’s in it?
The objects in the basket are selected for the purpose engaging the child’s sensory system. Some items encourage slow, deep breathing such as a pinwheel or breathing ball. Others provide tactile experience like a brush or a rock that the child can rub along his skin. Other items help a child zero in and focus like a glitter jar. Still others are “comfort cues” such as a favorite stuffed animal or puppet.
How to use it?
In introducing the calm down basket, we first explain that the items in the basket are “tools” to help us calm down. Explain where it will be kept, when it can be used, how long to use it, and how many can use it at once. Then we practice each tool together with the guard dog, and ultimately with all three puppets. Having practiced a few times, the Guard dog exclaims that it is feeling much better, and the owl and elephant take deep breaths and declare they are back and ready to do their jobs.
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