Quarantine Sensory Diet
Many of our kids are showing increased sensory seeking behavior as they are not getting the normal sensory input that they are used to. Here is a sample of some home sensory diet activities.
- When getting dressed provide child with deep pressure lotion massage. If they are old enough to do on own let them rub lotion on arms and legs.
-Before doing anything else try this quick two-minute movement activity
-Jump up and down 20x (if you have a trampoline you can use it for this as your child will get more sensory input from this)
-If your child is small pick them up and spin around 10x in each direction. If they are too big to pick up, they can spin themselves. Another way to get vestibular input is to use an office chair that spins if you have one available.
-Bear walk down the hall to wherever you are starting your day. If you are going down the stairs, have your child stomp down the stairs.
-Add foods that incorporate oral input. (Have your child drink a smoothie or yogurt out of a straw, chewy foods such as bagels, or crunchy foods such as a Stella Dora biscuit, pretzel rods, etc are good). Have cold foods for snacks such as frozen yogurt tubes, ice pops, frozen pieces of fruit.
Teeth brushing: Use a vibrating toothbrush and give oral massage at this time
Before any type of sitting for schoolwork give your child 5 minutes of some sort of proprioceptive or vestibular input. The following are suggestions:
-Go Noodle video. www.gonoodle.com
-Spinning: In a chair, on their own, on a sit and spin
-Jumping: Off a stool, up and down, jumping jacks, trampoline
-Deep pressure: Hugs, joint compressions
-Hang upside down off the couch, windmill exercises (think anything where
your head can change position).
-Take 10 deep slow breaths before starting
- Show a visual schedule of how the day will go and what will happen after work is done
During school work time:
-Provide alternative seating opportunities: Standing at table, beanbag chair, couch with a weighted blanket, laying on belly on floor
-Use fidgets such as stress balls, a small ball of playdoh, kinetic sand, small toy to hold
-Use a timer (preferably visual so child knows how much time is left of working)
-If child is on a zoom or video chat with class you can sit behind child and give them deep pressure on their shoulders every once in a while
-Allow child to drink water during this time as it is alerting. Use a straw as sucking is very regulating
-See if your child attends better with music in background or if this is more distracting for them. Classical music tends to be calming. Headphones sometimes help more than listening to music in background, as it gives vibration directly to the inner ear and provides more auditory input as well as input from the headphones over the ear
-Have older child chew gum or suck on a mint
Play/ Movement Time:
-If you have a swing in the backyard this is one of the best ways to get sensory input! Use it multiple times a day for breaks.
-Rolling across grass or across floor
-Sensory bins (rice, pasta, moon sand, sandbox, water beads, water)
-Playdoh or theraputty
-Riding a bike or scooter (for younger kids a ride in the wagon or a small push toy)
-Put a blanket on the floor and have two adults swing child in blanket
-Races with animal walks (bear crawls, worm slide, frog jumps)
-If you have a yoga ball have child lay on belly over the ball and rock, or sit and bounce.
- Use a weighted blanket or a body pillow along side your child to sleep with
- Keep a consistent bedtime routine
- Play calming music
Make a quiet place:
Build a fort or use a small tent where child can go when they seem overstimulated before they start to get upset. Have some calming things inside for them to do.
Throughout the day talk about how your child is feelings. Use different colors, such as in the Zones of Regulation program. Children may not realize that they are feeling anxious, upset, tired, etc over the change of routine. Use visual pictures of feelings when talking about them.
*Try to provide child with sensory opportunities throughout the entire day rather than all at once!