Wherever I can I try to be an “attachment parent” whatever that label means. I firmly believe that while children need routine and boundaries, the best way to give it isn’t through shouting and laying down rules. Small people are sent to test us. To push boundaries. To challenge daily. But tantrums? Dealing with tantrums was not bringing out the best in me. It still isn’t bringing out the best in me, enter calm down glitter jars.
Before I made my first calm down jar, I was so disappointed in myself for getting so frustrated when I was dealing with tantrums that I shouted, I used Time Out (which he hated) and inevitably ended up with more tears than I started with, from both of us.
Our very first calm down glitter jar came about after I bought the Mindful Craft box from KenziBox, who are based in Dubai, for 99AED. They provided a series of crafts that your little one will love to do while helping you practice some positive and mindful parenting, developed with Joanne Jewell who runs a series of parenting workshops in Dubai. Hidden in this box of goodies was the thinking jar, also known as the calm down jar, or as it quickly became known in our house the blitter *glitter jar because it was a jar filled with glitter.
We got on great with this. It really was a breakthrough in dealing with tantrums for us, rather than the three minutes of supersonic screaming of MUMMY while in time out, we went for a “little chat” with the jar to shake all the angry away (and thank you Bing Bunny for the idea of moving the angry away.) It was all going swimmingly until the day he pushed the Baby, who’s learning to stand, over into the table and I lost my temper.
Instead of going for a calm chat for us both to shake the angry away and talk about why he did what he did. To talk about how it hurts and he doesn’t like to be pushed. Instead I put him in Time Out. Where he then threw everything he could get his hands on out of the room. Including the glitter jar. Where the lid promptly cracked.
Bye bye calm down glitter jar and a fresh set of tears because his glitter jar had smashed. He wanted to show his friends, he wanted the glitter back. Then he said something to me which made me decide to go and make a new calm down glitter jar, and to leave time out behind forever when dealing with tantrums.
But how will I shake my angry away?
With that one sentence I knew that the way forward in dealing with tantrums, for us at least, wasn’t time out. So in came our new calm down glitter jar, an afternoon activity and a tool to help him control some of the emotions swirling around inside when he tantrums.
“Tantrums are not bad behavior. Tantrums are an expression of emotion that became too much for the child to bear. No punishment is required. What your child needs is compassion and safe, loving arms to unload in.”
~~ Rebecca Eanes ~~
How we made our Thinking Glitter Jar to help in calming down and dealing with tantrums
What you need
A jar or bottle
We sourced most of our pieces from Daiso out here in Dubai meaning that our jar didn’t have to be expensive. Our jar is in fact a water bottle because we liked the frogs.
How to do it
1. Pour the glycerine into the jar. We used the whole bottle. Glycerine slows down the glitter falling to the bottom after you shake it.
2. Add the glitter. We had chosen a variety from silver glitter to silver hearts and silver stars.
3. Mix the food colouring with the water in a separate bottle before letting them loose on pouring it in.
4. Close the lid, I recommend gluing it shut if you can. Shake away!
Why I let my child make his own calm down jar
Not just as a craft that we could do together, I wanted the glitter jar to be something that was solely his. That the calm down jar would in fact calm him down because HE wanted to be calmed down rather than being TOLD to calm down.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
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