Create a self-soothe box to enable calm down

I am a great believer in empowering parents in my clinic room. I like to share my skills with you to enable your child’s capacity to regulate in times of stress, anxiety, and anger. Sometimes we need to help them to find some calm in these moments.

A self-soothe box is simple to do and something you can use immediately, and should not cost a lot of money.

What is a Self-Soothe Box?

It is a box ( shoebox)  that can include anything used to distract and soothe in times of stress. It originates from DBT ( Dialectical Behavior Therapy)  and addresses the need to manage and tolerate distress. Children are not born with self-control, so they will need to keep learning and developing the skill to regulate emotionally ( this carries on until they are 25). I use the box a lot in my role in CAMHS for adolescents who self-harm, but it can be used with much younger children, probably five upwards.

How would I create a Self-Soothe Box?

You could find a simple shoebox and decorate it with your child. You can then brainstorm with them what helps them to feel calm. It’s good to think of objects that include the five senses:Create a self -Box to enable calm in your child


  • Soft lovey
  • Favourite Toy
  • Soft materials
  • Stress ball
  • Pom Poms
  • Hand Cream
  • Feathers, soft brush
  • Play-doh


  • Something of yours like an old tee shirt
  • Lotion/oil ( obviously be careful with younger children)


Create a self -soothe box to enable calm down

  • Some photos
  • Pictures/postcards of calm
  • Funny Pictures
  • Mindful colouring


  • A favourite story
  • Audio of your voices
  • A meditation
  • Music
  • Animal or nature sounds

Taste ( for teenagers and older only)

  • Gum
  • Lollipop
  • Snack

What do I do when we have made one?

It is straightforward when your child is anxious, angry, or sad, and it is something that they can find to distract and soothe at that moment.  Please help them to engage and be mindful at that moment. This box is something that they can take if they are at camp or have a sleepover. I hope it helps, and please do share on my Facebook Page if you make one and if it works for you.

I am starting to put up my workshops to enable positive authoritative parenting for Autumn.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for your commitment to the well-being of your child and your family and your willingness to keep learning and growing. Remember: parenting is hard work, and you all deserve support.  Please share the gratitude and love by sharing and liking my Facebook Page, and do contact me to hear about my workshops and consultations. With Love Catherine

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