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Take Control of Time-Out with this DIY Calming Jar

My three year old is very active. She has a difficult time sitting still even for things she enjoys, like movies. So, as you can imagine, time-outs were as much a punishment for me as they were for her! I found myself spending the duration of time-outs putting my daughter back in her seat.

Discussing this issue with a co-worker one day, she asked me if I had ever tried a “calming jar” for time-out. Confused, I asked her what it was and where to find one. She explained that a calming jar is a glass jar filled with water, food coloring, and glitter. When your child acts up and earns him/herself a time-out, they shake up the jar and sit in their designated time-out place until all of the glitter settles back at the bottom of the jar, and they both “calm down.”

 

 

 

Here’s how to assemble:

  • Find a large glass jar. I would recommend using at least a 15 oz jar (we used a recycled spaghetti sauce jar).
  • Fill the jar ¾ full of water.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring. I would suggest allowing your child to pick the color.
  • Pour in a small packet of glitter. Be sure to use only very fine glitter (almost powder-like) as most large-piece heavy glitters will only take a few seconds to settle to the bottom (I made this mistake with my first jar–my daughter really lucked out that day!)
  • Fill the remainder of the jar with water so that there is only about an inch of empty space on the top of the jar, and shake until the color and glitter blend.
  • After the glitter has settled, put the jar on a flat surface and use as needed!

What a godsend this jar has been for me! Time out for my daughter is no longer a HUGE hassle and is actually becoming constructive!

This has been a guest post by Hillary from Lansing, MI
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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23 thoughts on “Take Control of Time-Out with this DIY Calming Jar”

  1. Reeba Clarke says:

    glass in time out i would use a clear plastic jar miricle whip comes in one ,glas is to easy to break

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a cute idea. Maybe a plastic bottle would be better.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My son loves his, and actually thanks me for it. My hubby thinks it’s weird that my son doesn’t see time-out as a real punishment now, but I told my hubby that time-outs shouldn’t really be punishment. People wonder why people who are upset don’t take a minute to calm down before fighting, yelling, or doing something stupid: maybe it’s because the idea of taking a time-out was taught to them as a punishment! Taking a minute to calm down and gather our thoughts shouldn’t be a punishment, and taking such a time can solve a lot of kid’s problems.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My son loves his, and actually thanks me for it. My hubby thinks it’s weird that my son doesn’t see time-out as a real punishment now, but I told my hubby that time-outs shouldn’t really be punishment. People wonder why people who are upset don’t take a minute to calm down before fighting, yelling, or doing something stupid: maybe it’s because the idea of taking a time-out was taught to them as a punishment! Taking a minute to calm down and gather our thoughts shouldn’t be a punishment, and taking such a time can solve a lot of kid’s problems.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I remember having something like this when I was a preschool teacher. We used old soda or water bottles, filled it with 2/3 water and 1/3 oil, put a drop of food coloring in and some glitter, put some glue in the lip and screw it tight. I find that toys like this can help calm a child down, their bodies would be still and they would watch the water and oil mix. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, lol. A little safer than the glass jar though.

  6. Imona Budget says:

    I guess it’s just me…but I thought that timeout wasn’t supposed to be fun or interesting? My kid would forget all about what he did wrong….and my 21month old (who likes to go to timeout with the 3 yr old) would definitely be the one to knock this over….! 
    But, if you take ‘timeout’ out of the equation…this is a great “calming” tool for when the kids gets too hyper or overstimulated….maybe a prebedtime activity…..

  7. I did this for my 4 children. I used a plastic peanut butter jar and glued the lid on. It works wonderful and Yes there is still a possibility of the top shattering. However if you fill the top with elmer’s school glue a day or so prior and let it dry (watch threads to thread it on). It makes it 900% less breakable.

  8. I think 90% of these are coming from Pinterest. I’ve seen this on there soooo many times. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t the one on Pinterest have the glow stick bracelet contents emptied in the jar and then the glitter? Now that would be fun and the glow bracelets are only $1 for 15 or so at Target. That would be a good time out also because it will glow for several hours!

  9. If your child is mad enough, this thing might turn into a glitter bomb with glass shard shrapnel!  I think the calming jar is a great idea, but if I were going to make one I’d choose a plastic jar and Super Glue the lid on.

    Happy Disciplining!

    • Anonymous says:

       Not even “mad enough” but toddler accident prone. Heck I could even drop it when I’m in my time out corner!!! :) I agree with Amy 100%

    • Anonymous says:

      Glitter bomb…that is awesome!  
      I am an extremely calm father, husband, etc.  I am expert at maintaining my “temperature” through years of business negotiations, management, etc.  (It kills my wife when we argue!)  Thus, the extremely rare times when I allow myself to show visible signs of anger, my daughter LOSES IT…I couldn’t imagine my 4 yr old throwing a glass jar.  I don’t think she has it in her…
      I guess I could see some of my friend’s little boys doing it though, now that I think about it.  I am so happy I have a girl!!  :)

    • Karen Siewak says:

       LOL You are soooooooooooo right Amy.. I would NEVER give it to my youngest.. well, back when he was a child… because he was hyper, and I see the exact same scenario that you have described here!

    • Anonymous says:

      VERY good advice.  Thank you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like an awesome idea thanks!  The expensive time out pad I bought is more of a fight than it is worth.  

  11. AMY KEATON says:

    What a great idea!  I can’t wait to try this with my daughter.

  12. Krista says:

    So, when the glitter reaches the bottom, the time out is over?

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