Basket o’ tools
I heard about this from Carol Jackson, who I think got it from the mama who invented it… fun idea.
One way to “make concrete” the skills a child needs to cope with their emotions is to have a basket of tools that they can use when they are having a strong/challenging emotion. Imagine a nice basket, easily accessible at home, and filled with things like:
- a soft blanket (for when you need a little reassurance/comforting)
- gum (for when your mouth needs to be busy doing something other than saying *%$!)
- music (for when you need to change your energy one way or the other)
- the dog’s leash (for when a little motion, and bilateral stimulation would do you good.) (also, this is a great way to take a break, don’t you think?)
- bath salts (for helping someone–probably mom! to slow down, breathe, take a break.)
I can imagine other things, like: ear plugs, playdough, an exercise ball or stretchy band, and a trampoline. (although I can’t quite figure out how to fit the trampoline in the basket. But you get the idea. :^)
The beauty is, the tools are great for both kids and their parents!
UPDATE: I should have said–these tools are great for when the child wants to use them. It’s pretty much never effective to tell someone they have to go do xyz to take care of themselves. And one more note: I think the best thing to snuggle with for reassurance is a loving person, but sometimes it’s good to have a backup.