Since I posted about making a calm down jar, I seem to get a lot of visits from people searching for the term "calm down jar" (or a variation of it). So I thought I'd post an update about how the jar worked for us.
Sure, we had fun making it, and it is sort of pretty to watch the glitter floating around, but it hasn't done much for helping Annika's tantrums or moods. Perhaps if we used it more often, but after a few tries, it didn't seem to be doing much, so it got stuck on a shelf and there it remains. And I was always a little afraid that, in the midst of a tantrum, she'd pick up the jar and toss it, resulting in a huge, wet, glittery, glass-shard-filled mess. So maybe it works for other kids, but not for mine.
I will share with you, though, one thing that does work for us - taking a few deep breaths (this helps both Annika and me). It sounds kind of hokey, but it really works. When she's in the throes of a tantrum and all logic and reasoning seem to be lost and punishments and threats of punishments have no effect, I get right in front of her, in her face, and say "let's take a few deep breaths" and I start doing it really loud and exaggerated. More often than not, she'll start doing it too, and she'll start to calm down enough that we can at least start talking. I'm sort of amazed that it works so well, but it does (at least for now!). I hope that by doing it regularly it someday becomes something that she will do on her own, to prevent herself from getting so upset and worked-up. That day might be years and years away, but it's never to early to start, right? I think regardless of your age, taking a deep breath is always a good thing.
So let's all take one right now. Ready? Breathe in.... and out.....
Feel better? ;)