Sensory Strategies for a Sensational Summer!
● By Digital Media Director
By: Melissa Pitz and Sabrina Phillips, LifeScape
One strategy to combat these tiny spring tornadoes and prepare for a harmonious summer is adopting a sensory-rich lifestyle. Sensory strategies help everyone prepare their bodies to meet the challenges of an activity, and help us find activities to meet the needs of the body. As parents, we can use these strategies to prepare our children mentally, emotionally and physically to remain seated during meals, prepare for bed, complete their chores and maybe even stay out of trouble!
You may remember your mom saying “go outside and burn some energy” – same concept, but now we know there are neurological reasons for needing a variety of sensory input to the human body. By pushing, pulling, lifting, swinging, spinning and jumping we are getting the input our body needs. In turn, when the expectation is to sit, attend, listen or sleep, the body and brain are prepared because we have already met the other needs.
As parents, we have two choices-help our kids get the input they need, or deal with the consequences, which for my kids ends up in running, screaming, crying, fighting and breaking things. It’s important to acknowledge all children need activity and movement. Without sufficient input, the body will remain in a state of dysregulation, which will result in frustration, inattention and irritability.
How do we help our children (and ourselves) meet these needs? Good old-fashioned PLAY! Get outside with your kids this summer and try out our activity list below. Your kids, their bodies and your sanity will thank you!
Outside Activity List:
-Building sand castles
-Head to the nearest playground
-Make mud pies
-Play a sport
-Water some flowers
-Ride a bike
Inside Activity List:
-Build a fort
-Have a dance party
-Make homemade playdoh
-Kids yoga (check out YouTube)
-Finger painting (in the bath tub for easy clean up)
-Get creative with a large cardboard box (color it, cut it and let your kid’s imagination go wild)
-Help your kids record a toy review on your phone or iPad
-Do a puzzle or board game while lying on your stomachIf you notice even after implementing a variety of sensory strategies it’s difficult for your child to sit, attend, listen or sleep, check with your physician to see if an occupational therapist may be able to help.