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How to create a ‘comfort kit’ with your child

Specialist Nurse Advisers – Mental Health, Bupa
28 April 2020

The current situation with coronavirus has caused unexpected changes to our daily lives. If you’re a parent, your children may be feeling anxious, worried and upset about what’s happening.

We’ve created an animation for you to watch with your child. It introduces the idea of making their own ‘comfort kit’. This is a collection of special and favourite items that they can turn to whenever they feel upset. The animation is for children aged seven and under.


Comfort kits are also called self-soothe boxes. They contain sensory items that can help to distract, soothe or comfort children when they feel distressed. Self-soothing is a technique that can help children to manage difficult feelings, and regulate their emotions. Our hope here is that after watching the animation, you and your child may like to make a comfort kit together.

Comfort kits are simple to make and can be used quickly. And they don’t have to be expensive – they can often be filled with items you already have at home. It’s good to put things in there that focus on the senses such as touch, smell, see and hear.

Here are some ideas that your child might like to put in their kit.

Touch

  • Soft blanket
  • Cuddly toy
  • Pom poms
  • Stress ball
  • Fidget spinner

Smell

  • Something that reminds them of you (maybe a t-shirt)
  • Flowers
  • Scratch and sniff (scented) stickers
  • Bath bombs

See

  • Photos of favourite animals or people
  • Colouring-in book
  • Favourite book
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Snow globe
  • Bubbles

Hear

  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • A musical instrument
  • Favourite music
  • Sounds from nature

Using the comfort kit

Next time your child is distressed, try some of these conversation starters to help remind your child that this is a tool that can help soothe them.

‘I can see you’re feeling angry/upset/annoyed. Shall we get the box that you have made to look at this together?’

‘I will get your comfort kit for you and we can work out what is making you feel this angry/upset/annoyed/worried.’

‘Do you think spending some time going through your self-soothe box / comfort kit will be helpful right now?’

Even if your child isn’t upset, if you notice them use or play with an item they particularly like – for example a game they’ve enjoyed, you could suggest they put it in their kit too.

During this time of change and uncertainty, we hope this kit can help you and your child find some comfort. We also have some information about talking to your child about coronavirus which you may find helpful too.

Harriet Finlayson and Danielle Panton
Specialist Nurse Advisers – Mental Health, Bupa

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