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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Parenting Tips: Supporting Calm

[This was supposed to be the post last Thursday but last Thursday I missed posting, so here it is today The other two in the series were on March 22 and 29th.]

How do you stock a Calm Spot?

For a Calm Spot to work best, equip the spot with things that help your particular child calm down.  Think about two questions:
      1- What does your child tend to do when they are upset? 
      2- What helps your child settle down when they are upset? 
Knowing those two things will help you figure out what might work best for your child.  Then you can work together to set up the ideal spot for each child to keep them safe while angry and help them calm down and turn it around. 

Some examples and ideas:
1- What does your child naturally tend to do when they are upset? 
Try to thinks of safe ways for them to do that activity and expend that energy in their Calm Spot. Examples...
Hit things?  Try clay or Play-Dough for Pounding.
Yell or Scream?   A thick pillow for punching or screaming into. 
Ripping Things Up?  Put a bunch of scrap paper and a zip lock bag for ripping and stuffing.
Burst into tears?  Add a box of Kleenex.
Cover their ears?  Put in old-style ear-covering headphones
Fall asleep? Add a pillow and lap blanket.

2- What helps your child start settling down when they are upset? 
Think about what your childusually does when the storm begins to pass.Providing materials to do that will help them transition from the anger to calm.
 Listen to Music?  A player and CD or their favorite calming music. 
      [Be sure it has working batteries!] 
Draw?  Coloring Book and crayons or pencils
Quiet Activities?  Maze or puzzle book, Legos, etc. 
Being left alone?  Headphones help here to block out the world.
Lie down or Take a nap?   Add a pillow and lap blanket.
Some kids have a special cuddle toy or blanket. Does yours? 

Note....Some of my kiddos as they got older kept a well-stocked Calm Box in their room or in their Calm Spot and I no longer needed to  manage it. The Calm Spot/Box technique became part of their personal management habits. [Maybe their spouses will thank me someday? Hee-Hee]

Next Thursday:  Final Reminders and Calm Spot rules.  

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