Lately I’ve been looking into ways to calm my preschooler. Roo has had a rough few weeks and we wanted to help her learn to be more in control of her emotions
Big emotions can be scary for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s our job as parents to help them navigate through them. Part of my research has led me to a parenting book called No-Drama Discipline. (This isn’t a review of the book, just throwing it out there that I’ve learned a lot from this particular book.)
The next part of my research has included ways to distract, calm, and redirect my preschooler during a meltdown. Using what I’ve learned, Roo and I are building a calm down tool kit.
Inside will be tools she can use to calm herself. To Roo the tools look like toys and games to play with. For me I know each of the tools represent a calming technique that appeals to one or more of the 7 senses.
(Yes, I said 7 senses.)
- Proprioception (the awareness of the movement and position of the body)
- Vestibular Sensation (the sense of balance)
When children are over or under stimulated in one of these senses, it can result in misbehavior.
My favorite description is the imagine each of the 7 senses as a cup. Ideally each cup would be fill half full. When one cup is too full or too empty, the brain feels out of sorts. The brain seeks to correct itself by avoiding the full sense, seeking out the empty sense, or just acting out.
Keep in mind that not all the cups are equal in size and the size of the cup can vary depending on the child. Roo has very big Vestibular, Proprioception, and Touch cups but rather small Hearing cup.
So today we crafted something for Roo’s calm down tool box that appeals to touch and proprioception. Stress balls provide texture to explore and a deep pressure in the hands. Roo even likes to roll the ball on her face!
How to make a Stress Ball
There are a few methods on how to make a stress ball. We went with the easiest and most fun for a preschooler to participate in.
a balloon in your child’s favorite color (we used helium quality for extra strength)
about a cup or so of flour
a small funnel
Here’s how to make a stress ball
Stretch the mouth of the balloon over the end of the funnel.
Have the child slowly spoon the flour into the funnel and gently shake or tap to allow the flour to fall into the balloon.
Fill with as much flour as you can.
Remove the funnel and pinch the mouth of the balloon.
Squeeze any remaining air from the balloon, while keeping a light pinch on the balloon. (You might want to do this over the sink!)
Knot the balloon and start squeezing.
Now you know how to make a stress ball, you can experiment with more things to fill the balloon with. Corn starch? Shaving cream? Water Beads?
Remember to supervise young children with balloons, and even older children can accidentally puncture or tear the balloon and make a mess.
Sign up for my email list to get updates every time I post something new. We will be continuing this how to calm your preschooler series and filling up our tool kits!