They’re screaming and crying, kicking and hitting, face bright red, and tears streaming down their face. And just like that, you’re in the midst of a full-blown tantrum. This is when I calmly and quietly walk to the Calm Down Basket, take my crazed child “nicely” by any limb I can get a grip on, and take him to a quiet spot.
If you’re asking yourself, ‘what is she talking about’ then this post isn’t for you. Keep walking. If you’re shaking your head with that slight smirk that only a mom who knows exactly what I’m talking about has, then keep reading because I’m about to change your world!
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Tantrums are the worst. Plain and simple. And usually, they affect everyone. Not just the one having the meltdown. More times than not, they lead to a little bit of my own internal tantrum as well. So, when time outs not only stopped working but also seem to worsen and even elevate the tantrum, I knew I had to find another way to help my tantrum dweller.
Enter the Calm Down Basket which is filled with items that are used to distract from the tantrum and return your child back to a calm state of mind. My Calm Down Basket includes random items that can be blown through or on like straws, a pinwheel, a mini flute, and bubbles. These kinds of things help with taking breaths to help him relax and regroup. I also put in a few play dough balloon faces (my favorite) that he can squish to help relieve stress. I have a book about how to deal with anger, an I spy jar, an anti-stress roller ball, a slap bracelet, and a few other things. You can put anything that you think will help your child get their brain to switch from the tantrum/panic mode to calm and receptive mode.
Calm Down Basket Ideas
- A book about feelings or anger
- Mini bubbles
- Mini toy camera
- Playdough balloon faces
- I spy jar
- Glitter jar or wand
- Bouncy ball
- Pipe Cleaners
- Anti-Stress rollerball
- Fidget spinner
- Slap bracelet
- Jumping frogs
- Globbie stress Ball
Early on, when my son was between the ages of 1-3, we used the counting method followed by a time out for enforcing rules and discipline. And for a while, it worked wonders. I’m still an avid user of the counting method and can say that 98% of the time it works– preventing or stopping the bad behavior or enforcing better listening skills when needed.
However, at about age 4 we started noticing that when our little firecracker was sent to time out, the sparks started and within seconds the flame had been ignited. He became even more agitated and if the tantrum hadn’t yet started, being isolated to a section of the house was about to send him into a full-on frenzy.
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After talking with other moms and doing my own maddening research on the topic of whether time outs are more helpful or harmful to the situation at hand, I found the overwhelming result to be the same. Basically it depends on the child! Some are more responsive to the time out method but for other children, it can trigger the emotion of fear for having been isolated from the rest of the family, ultimately leading to more harm than good. Yes, I know what you’re thinking- they’re in time out for misbehaving or not listening—that’s the punishment so they have to deal with it, right?!
This is where I had to change or just slightly alter my view on the matter. Because, yes I agree with my last statement. I also know that what I’m ultimately trying to do is teach my young child right from wrong. If he’s half-crazed, kicking and screaming I’m never going to get through to him and therefore he’s never going to learn the lesson at hand. The key is to get your child to calm down, to get their brain to switch from the tantrum/panic mode to calm and receptive mode.
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So, we decided to make a change and see what would come of it. We still use the counting method but when it doesn’t work, or we sense a tantrum is coming, or even when I’m too late and it’s already started, we grab the Calm Down Basket. I say, let’s have some calm down time and talk. We go to a quiet place in the house together and start talking about and playing with the items in the basket.
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And before you know it, he’s calm and in a state to receive the information I’m about to bestow upon him. He’s more receptive and once I know he’s taken in whatever lesson it is he needed to hear, we go back to what we were doing before. This has worked wonders for our family! Less outbursts and tantrums but when they happen, our Calm Down Basket saves the day!
Do your children have a problem with tantrums? Is it driving you to have your own? Try your own version of a Calm Down Basket and share in the comments below. Please pin and share if you liked this post.
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Meagan is in her mid-thirties and has been married for almost 10 years. She is a proud boy mom, happily navigating her way through the toddler years. She met her husband 20 years ago in high school; they got married 10 years later after graduating from the University of South Florida. Meagan currently helps run a family business with her parents and sister, while blogging about her life and taking care of her three-year-old son full time (at work)!
When she isn’t chasing her son around and constantly picking up Matchbox cars, she enjoys spending time with her family on a beach anywhere. She also loves decorating and organizing her home, delving into fun DIY projects, bargain shopping, and eating at unique restaurants. She also loves Barbecue anything and a good show or movie on Netflix.