Our days are filled with beautiful and heart-warming moments, ordinary moments and with very difficult and loud and emotional moments too. For each and everyone of us – B., M., me. I tried to find a way how to make those difficult moments more manageable, how to have a series of steps that could lead to calm. Then I came across the idea of a calming corner, however our flat is not big enough for all types of corners I would like to have, so we ended up with a calming basket. I looked up inspiration online and created a calming basket containing various sources.
Sensorial objects are supposed to redirect attention from difficult feelings to body sensation. After feeling a little better we can focus on processing feelings and then discussion about what happened and why and what our next steps could be.
This teddy bear was gifted to me by my sister, B. slept with him since he was born. It is special for calming lemon balm added to its stuffing.
I put few drops of calming essential oils (lavender, Roman chamomile and geranium) into this small inhaler.
I am usually the one who uses this massage ball and roller on B.’s body with his permission. Later he takes over with a “car” roller and plays around.
Sand timer is B.’s favorite and kaleidoscope with stones is my favorite.
Emotional cards. When I printed out and laminated these cards, B. used to look through them quite often and I named emotions in the pictures for him. Now we sometimes look at these cards when he (we) has overwhelming feelings and try to find those expressions that correspond with his. I purchased these cards here.
A card game for families called Emocionálna záhrada or Emotional garden. It is a source in Slovak by Iryna Zelyk. The author wrote also books about emotions and I really like them – I think B. needs to get a little older for these. But the card game is amazing. There are tasks that tell players to recall situations when they felt a particular feeling or tasks that build and strengthen family members connection. B. even knows when the hugs and kisses come just by looking at the picture of the card.
Mindful Kids by Whitney Stewart. These cards offer short mindfulness exercises. I chose just few cards that I expected B. could practice as they are meant for children from four years old. Our favorite is Tummy Ride – a stuffed animals are supposed to ride on our bellies up and down as we breath in and out.
Yoga cards by Just Bee Yoga + Well-being. These yoga cards are exactly what I was looking for. There are real children in the pictures (not illustrations), there are children of various skin colors, cards include positive statements, they are playful (with game suggestions), colorful and minimalistic too. It took a month to be delivered to us from US, but it was worth it. And B. always says “kajticky z Amejiky” – cards from America.
I collected several books suitable for the calming basket in both English and Slovak. There are even more books in our bookcase which I am going to use when B. is older.
- Veľká kniha superschopností or The Big Book of Superpowers by Susanna Isern. At the beginning we started to read the book and I pointed out some superpowers I thought B. had. Somehow it turned out to be not such a good idea, as he referred to those superpowers as: you told me my superpower is xyz… When this appeared I immediately stopped pointing out “B.’s superpowers”. I offered B. my judgements about what I feel his superpowers are. Then I started to just read a book. Then I came up with an idea of practicing superpowers mentioned in the book. When B. is impatient about something I tell him that now is a chance to practice superpower of patience. And there are many more opportunities to practice superpowers daily…
- I’m Calm by Jayneen Sanders. For few months this was the only book in our calming basket and it is B.’s favorite. The book offers tips how a child can calm down in a family with stressed members. This book is published by Educate2Empower Publishing and I am thrilled that I somehow found it. They offer books on themes I am really passionate about and I ordered a few. On their website they even offer some free resources.
- Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey. Book is full of small mindful and breathing moments for children – and there are so many, as the book is quite thick. B.’s favorite is Hot Chocolate – I started to use it during stressful situations, sometimes it works, sometimes not and sometimes B. starts to practice Hot Chocolate by himself. I always join him. The author has her own website and YouTube channel where more (also free) sources can be found.
- The Lemonade Hurricane by Licia Morelli. When I saw an illustration below I knew I must buy the book! The boy in the illustration was just like B. – unstoppable, doing million things at once, not being careful what damages may be done… The book is written from the boy’s sister’s point of view and shows how she perceives her brother and what his behavior causes her. She wishes to help her brother calm down because he is then so much fun… This is a website of the book.
How we use the calming basket
We use all these resources from our calming basket randomly either in difficult situation, after it or whenever just for fun. I use objects from the basket when I need to calm down sometimes which models steps for B. I see how much easier is to solve emotions between B. and me, it is much more challenging with adults, with M. Why is it? I have just realized… B. is not judgmental, he takes it as it is. He goes through emotions and moves on. Oh, how much I (we) have to learn from him… I guess this kind of learning (as each kind of learning) requires willingness to learn and reflect…