My oldest is a very spirited kid…stubborn, energetic and when he gets angry, you’ll know it. He doesn’t respond the same as most kids to the concept of time-out. It makes the situation worse and gets him even more upset. As a parent, I’ve had to find alternative ways to get him to calm down and think about his actions.
Our Strategy: Use a Calm Down Jar
Below, is how I made mine and how we use our jar to help our feisty little guy. It was simple to make and only requires a few items.
What you’ll need:
- 1 Jar – Glass works best * More on this below * I find that the glitter sticks to plastic. When choosing a glass jar, I suggest a heavier grade mason jar that is more durable.
- Water – warm to help the glue melt
- 1 Tube of Glitter of Choice – Ultra fine works best
- Clear Elmer’s Glue – Make sure it’s CLEAR. The white stuff will not give the same effect.
- Glue Gun (for lid)
- Start with a clean, dry jar.
- Fill with warm water.
- Add half the bottle of Elmer’s Clear Glue.
- Stir the water/glue mixture until glue is nicely dissolved.
- Add Glitter. I suggest adding slowly and then seeing what kind of effect your jar has. You can play with how much of the glitter you add for your desired effect. More glitter will result in a longer settling time. Mine takes about 4 minutes to settle.
- Once you are satisfied with the effect, glue gun the cap closed.
How We Use Our Jar
- Keep the jar in safe place that only an adult can access. Since it is glass, you’ll not want to give this to a child who is ‘out of control’ angry or having a tantrum. We don’t use ours for that purpose. I use it to prevent my son from getting to the temper-tantrum stage. Alternatively, if your child has had a tantrum or melt-down and has begun to calm down, this is a great tool to help them continue to do so.
- When I notice my son needs some time alone, I offer him his calm down jar. He knows he must sit on the couch or on his bed where he is less likely to drop it. He is not allowed to walk around with it.
- I shake the jar, and he must sit and relax until the glitter settles. Often, he chooses to shake it again and will sit for longer than I could ever get him to sit for a time-out.
- We use for anger, too much energy to encourage calmness or quiet or post-tantrum/melt-down. Again, we never give it to our son when he is acting out or overly angry.
- After he is done with the Calm Down Jar, we take it back to place it in a safe spot….a cabinet out of reach
- Talk your child through using the jar – model how relaxing it can be to view/shake and watch the glitter swirl and settle! Enjoy!