Sometimes, children can have a hard time regulating the external stimuli in their world. This can cause feelings of over excitement and dysregulation, which needs to be settled. In our speech and occupational therapy sessions, we utilize activities that regulate our bodies into a calmer, more attentive state. These are called calming activities. These activities are used when our body is feeling really high (excited, angry happy, etc.,) It does not necessarily have to be a negative feeling, but any state where the body and brain are more energetic. Calming activities are rhythmic, planned, predictable activities focusing more on proprioceptive feelings, touch. Our team of Occupational Therapists have provided some activities we use in to prepare our clients minds and bodies for therapy, that can also be used at home!
“Bear Hugs”– This is one of our favorite activities to soothe and calm our kiddos! We ask the child to do big strong bear hugs, which are just really tight hugs. They can do it themselves or give another person a bear hug! When you give your child a big squeeze or a tight hug it provides deep pressure that is very calming to the body; the longer you hold them and the more of their body you can squeeze the calming effects will be greater.
“Laundry Basket Pushes”– Fill up a laundry basket with anything you have laying around the house (towels, sheets, dirty clothes, books, etc.) and ask them to push the loaded basket around the house. You can push against the basket to provide some resistance to this active movement! Ask your child to go as fast as they can and then ask them to go as slow as they can to bring their body back down to regulation.