How to make a mindful art cool down jar with your child By, Vicktoria Molokin, LCPC

 

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This activity can teach your child how difficult feelings can take hold and how to find peace and resiliency when these feelings come up. As your child uses this coping skill more often, they will be able to become resilient faster over time.

Step 1: Get a clear jar or plastic water bottle.

Step 2: Add water and glitter glue or clear glue into the container.

Step 3: Add glitter and seal the lid.

*There are many ways to do the cool down jars as pictured below. There is no wrong way to do it, just have fun and have your child help you with this fun  therapeutic art project.

You can use the following script as inspiration to talk to your child about how to deal with strong emotions or feel free to come up with your own mini lesson:

“Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you are stressed, mad, sad, or upset. See how they whirl around and makes it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you are upset, because you are not thinking clearly. Decisions that you may regret later by something you may say or do. Don’t worry, all emotions are normal to have and it happens to everyone.

[Now put the jar in front of them]

Now watch what happens when you’re still for a couple of moments. Keep watching, you don’t need to touch the jar, just watch the glitter fall to the bottom. See how the glitter starts to settle and the water becomes clear. Your mind works the same way. When you’re calm for a little while, your thoughts start to settle and you start to see things much clearer. Then you are better at making positive decisions instead of things you may regret. It’s important for us to continue to practice how we can thoughtfully respond rather than emotionally react to what is going on around us when times get hard.

Whenever you child does get frustrated with dealing with difficult emotions have them use the cool down jar to help them calm down and cool off. Afterwards it will always be helpful to process their experience and help them validate their feelings.

Here are few of my favorite validating phrases:

  • “I know it’s hard to wait…..”
  • “That’s must have hurt…”
  • “It’s hard when you don’t do as well as you wanted to…”
  • “It feels bad to lose…”
  • “We all get angry when…”
  • “I can see you are feeling…”
  • “That can be really annoying…”
  • “I feel the same way when…”
  • “I bet you are sad because…”
  • “I know what you mean…”
  • “How can I help you?”

 

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