Calm Down Kits

If you have a child that struggles with frequent meltdowns then having a calm down kit in your home and a mobile kit for on the go is a great preventative strategy.  For more details on meltdowns, tantrums, prevention, and management refer to my Meltdowns post by clicking here. A calm down kit is filled with tools that help your child to calm down when they are feeling overwhelmed or escalated. Children with ASD, ADHD, and anxiety that are prone to meltdowns tend to do particularly well with this strategy.

In order for the calm down kit to be effective you need to choose items that work for your child. Some children are sensory avoidant when they are overwhelmed and overstimulated. This child would likely prefer noise cancelling headphones, sunglasses, and other items that are designed to reduce the sensory load. Some children are sensory seeking and start to calm down when they can focus on one pleasant sensory item. This child will do well with a fidget, putty, koosh ball, or a soft toy. Some children do best with both options and like to start with one and then move onto the next. You know your child best! 

Weighted blankets or weighted lap pads for on the go are calm down kit items that are highly effective for children struggling with anxiety, ASD, and ADHD. They provide deep pressure therapy which can increase serotonin levels in the brain and create a calming response. With younger children, parents can provide deep pressure manually, but for children that are starting to learn how to self-regulate themselves, these tools are fantastic.

Tips for making sure your kit is effective include:

  • Include your child in the process of building it. As with all behavioural strategies, if your child is involved and feels ownership over the strategy, they are more likely to use it when the time comes.
  • Ensure that the kit is easy to access by both you and your child. 
  • Practice practice practice. 
  • Remember that calm down kits work best when they are used during the “rumbling” stage BEFORE the full shutdown meltdown occurs. You will want to pull out the kit and support your child in pulling out their favourite item when you see signs of escalation, but before they are in full meltdown mode and unable to follow directions.

Below I have included links to some of my favourite calm down box items. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you do happen to purchase via an affiliate link then I may receive a small commission (tiny). Please know that I only ever post retail products that I have personally used with my own children or with my clients. I will always choose the right product over an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting the small ways that I am able to support my business and content creation.

Image of a calm parent | Neilson Mahoney Coaching

Calm Down Box Favourites

Noise Reducing Headphones – These are great for any child that is easily overwhelmed by too much noise or certain kids of noise. The first two options are noise reducing only: headphones 1 or headphones 2  and these two allow you to play music while also having passive noise cancellation: headphones 3 or headphones 4.

Weighted Blanket – Please be advised that weighted blankets are not recommended for children under the age of 2. Because I am cautious with a side of extra cautious I would not personally recommend them for sleeping until age 5. For calming with supervision, use your discretion. The calculation for weight is 10% of body weight. I personally use this brand on my own bed and love it. Weighted Blanket.

Weighted Lap Pad – These are great for on the go and calming down in the car.  Weighted Lap Pad

Weighted Animal – Similar to a weighted lap pad Manimo brand weighted animals are a fun snuggly way for kids to enjoy deep pressure therapy. Weighted Frog

Sunglasses and Bucket Hat – Pick your favourite from home and keep in the car for trips out and about.

Pop It – These are currently wildly popular and can be found just about anywhere. Pop it

Fidget Cubes – These are one of my favourite options for older kids and teens. They are small, inconspicuous, but highly absorbing. There are two styles that I have used: Fidget Cube 1 and Fidget Cube 2

Putty – Putty can be scary for parents! If you decide to go the putty route look for unscented, non-toxic, silicone based options to reduce staining and keep your kids safe. Supervise all putty use with younger children! Therapy Putty

Yoga Cards for Kids – This is a fun printable option on Etsy. For Yoga Cards I always recommend using them as a family several times and pre-teaching how to use them before putting them in a calm down kit. Yoga Cards

Image of tapping | Neilson Mahoney Coaching
Image of tapping | Neilson Mahoney Coaching

Glitter Wand – This is my 8 year old daughters favourite calm down tool and hers has been used countless times since I purchased it for her 4 years ago. I couldnt find any single options to order without crazy shipping. But, these are often at random book and toy stores, keep your eyes peeled. For a 3 pack go here: Glitter Wands

Good Night Yoga Book – Just like the cards, practice with your child ahead of time. Goodnight Yoga

Colouring Books – Check out your local bookstore for lots of options, let your child help you choose. My daughter also loves these “Paint by Sticker” books when she wants to focus on something else and regulate: Paint by Sticker

Stress Ball/Squishy Ball – There are about a million choices for these. I highly recommend going to a store in person. Every child is so different and likes different textures, try taking your child and having them choose. I have seen them at bookstores, dollarstores, toy stores and Michaels.

Strengths Based ADHD and Behaviour Coaching

Check out my Services pages to sign up for a preliminary bundle of appointments and for more details. You can also sign up for a 15 minute free consultation to discuss your needs.


I look forward to hearing from you.