My Calming Jar


All children have melt-downs on occasion. Giving them a calming jar can start them on their way to learning how to self-soothe. Many children also experience anxiety. We need trying to find ways to help them regulate their emotions. The key seems to be getting them to slow down and take deep breaths. My friend came up with this activity and it is relaxing.

My Calming Jar
Skill targeted:
Emotional Regulation
Vegetable Oil
Colored Water
Different Colored Glitter
permanent marker
It is best to make these jars when the child is calm and have them on hand when needed.

First, talk about the feelings that are difficult for them. This might be feeling frustrated, sad or perhaps, too excited.

Ask them to choose a color of glitter that they feel matches the difficult feelings. Have them rub the glitter between their fingers. How does it feel? Is it scratchy like the feeling?
Then ask them about when they feel happy, content or proud. How does that feel? Ask them what color matches that feeling. Attempt to make colored water that matches the feeling. Have them touch the water. How does it feel? Is it smooth like the feeling?
Have them mix the ingredients in their jars. Take it out whenever they need to calm down. Tell them to take deep breaths while they watch the oil and water mix and then separate.
Some children benefit from repeating a mantra while they watch the jar.
Alternate Version:
Repeat the steps up until you are about to fill the jar. Before filling, mark levels 1-5 on the jar with the permanent marker. Explain that we can be a little sad or very sad. The same is true for all our feelings. Show that the “5” means “VERY, VERY! , the “1” means just a little bit and the “3” is in between.
Ask the child to put the oil and water in the jar up to the level that matches the level of the their feeling.

Give them some time to calm down and once they are, ask them to look at the level in their jar. Can they take some out? Is their feeling at a lower level now?

This technique works great with kids and I think adults should try it, too!


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