Children often feel frustration, especially when they can’t express their wishes or when things don’t go their way. Unlike adults, young children haven’t learned how to cope with their frustration and this can lead to them lashing out, throwing things or a full-blown tantrum. A few months a go my eldest charge was having problems with his anger, everything was annoying him no matter what anyone did. In the end I made him a safe corner in the playroom with some cushions and some paper. Paper? Yes paper. I found that when I was younger the best way to help myself deal with my aggravations was to tear a piece of paper into tiny bits. So when my eldest charge began to feel annoyed he would ask if he could go to his safe place and tear up his paper until he felt better. This technique really helped to calm him down so that we could then talk about what had annoyed him and how we could deal with similar situation in future.
If paper was working so well why the stress balls? Two reasons: 1 it is another tool that can be used to help, especially if we are out and about and he can’t tear up some paper, and 2 because they are really fun to make.
We made two different types of stress balls using flour and dried lentils. Each one has a different feel to them so I made one of each and asked my little ones which one they preferred. Of course they each liked a different one; my youngest charge liked the lentils and my eldest liked the flour.
To make your own stress balls you will need:
- Flour of dried lentils
- Blow your balloon up and then let the air out.
- If you are using flour, but the funnel into the balloon and then spoon into the flour in. We didn’t have a funnel, so we made a paper one and used a kebab stick to help the flour go down. If you are using lentils then you can pour them in using your hands – you need to put a lot in so that they become really compacted.
- When you have enough tie of the end of the balloon. With the ones filled with flour I then put them inside another balloon just in case they burst.