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5 FAST + EASY SENSORY IDEAS
Preschool children learn in so many different ways. During this season at home, I see my daughter’s sensory systems needing different support at different times. Sometimes she wants to sit and do a puzzle; other times she’s jumping on the couch! Providing children with easy, simple yet meaningful sensory experiences will help meet their varying needs, provide them with meaningful learning experiences and the ability to better focus and avoid meltdowns.
Here are some suggestions:
1) Heavy Work. Consider implementing heavy work into their day to stimulate their sense of “proprioception,” or movement. Proprioception is stimulated through running, jumping, crashing, hugging, climbing, pushing, lifting, and pulling. Many kids and adults relax, calm down, and even have improved focus when they receive appropriate proprioceptive input. Heavy work is an easy way to get this type of input.
2) Child-led Play. Remember that children learn through play and experiences, not screens (I am talking to myself here!). Consider sitting on the floor with your child and letting them guide you through play. Just follow their lead – it is amazing where they can take you!
3) Movement Cards. Read your children’s body language- if their body is in motion and they can’t sit still, they are probably seeking sensory input. Creating a movement card jar is a great way to make movement breaks even more fun.
4) Impactful Sensory Experiences. Consider providing sensory stimulating activities in small spaces. We don’t all have a gym in our house but here are meaningful sensory experiences you can provide in the comforts of your own 4 walls!
5) Self-Regulation. Don’t forget yourself! If we are not in a state of regulation ourselves, we cannot support our little ones! Self-regulation involves monitoring and controlling one’s own feelings, emotions and behavior. It necessitates the ability to block out irrelevant stimuli, control impulses and prioritize what to focus on in order to perform daily activities. Think about what you need to create calm for yourself. For example – does noise overwhelm or calm you? Consider ear plugs to drown out some of the sound if noise makes you feel overwhelmed, or a sound machine if you like constant noise. As parents to little ones, caring for ourselves and listening to our own sensory systems is extremely important!
Social stories are a learning tool to help children better understand a situation they are currently in or may encounter. These short, often personalized stories model appropriate social interaction and response. Use the below social stories to help your children understand:
As a mom of 4 ranging from ages 6-16, I get it! Between working from home, keeping up with their schooling them, keeping the peace at home, and keeping my own mental health in check, I am barely staying afloat! My 10th grader, 6th grader and 4th grader have been engaged in assigned work from school, but my preschool daughter doesn’t have much on her plate! As an Inclusion Coordinator at the Jewish Abilities Alliance, I needed to remind myself of what I can do to make this work better not only for her, but also myself!
Please reach out if you want to laugh or cry together or need other suggestions! This unfortunately is not the sprint we were hoping for. It is a marathon and we are all in it together!!!
Lisa Houben, M.S. CCC-SLP
For more resources, visit Greater Atlanta JAA and PJ Library Atlanta‘s Facebook pages.
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