-PLASTIC water bottle (I prefer Neuro water bottles which can be found at Speedway. They have fun rocket-ship shaped lids and fit nicely in young children’s hands.)
-glitter of varying sizes and colors, sequins can be fun too (finer glitter settles more slowly)
-two drops of good coloring. Ask child what color makes him/her feel safe and use that color.
-SUPER GLUE the lid on
This technique I use with children in therapy as a coping skill for anger and frustration as well as a relaxation skill for anxiety and sadness. I explain the bottle to parents and caregivers as a concrete visual for deep breathing. I explain to the children to shake up the bottle when experiencing the emotion (anxiety, anger, sadness, also can be used for hyperactivity). I show them how the glitter clouds the water and they cannot see through it, just as they cannot think clearly or make safe choices when overwhelmed by the emotion. The child then takes deep breaths while watching the glitter settle. When the water is calm and they can see through the water to the other side, they know their body is calmer too and they can think more clearly. It is fun to have children practice using the bottle too. “Pretend you’re really mad! Show me your angry face and body. Okay that looks very angry. Now shake up the bottle…” Etc. Forewarning to parents and caregivers, if child is extremely escalated, glitter bottle will more than likely become a projectile bottle. It is best to attempt to engage children in de-escalation when first warning signs are noticed not when child is in full blown tantrum mode. Creating a calm down area at home (area filled with soft pillows, blankets, feelings poster, etc.) is a great place to keep the bottle so children can learn to self utilize the bottle for calming. Again, practicing the routine will work wonders- “Pretend like you are very angry. Oh wow you look angry! Now show me where in the house you go when you are angry. Okay and show me what you do to calm down there.” (Look at feelings poster, punch pillow, use bottle, etc.) “Wow! I really like how you are practicing how to calm down when you are angry and this is your special place in the house to do that!”