Here are five sensory techniques to calm down your child:
- Touch: Offer a familiar and comforting physical touch, such as a hug, a back rub, or holding their hand. You can also use a weighted blanket or allow them to hold a soft stuffed toy. Stress balls, poke/pop fidgets, putty/playdough, stretchy fidget, water beads or rice bins are great options too!
Tip: Determine the type and level of touch your child prefers and make sure to use it at the right time to calm them down.
- Taste: Offer a calming snack, like a herbal tea infusion, warm milk, or a piece of their favorite fruit. Foods with calming properties, such as bananas or avocados, are also good options to consider. A chewy necklace or bubblegum can help if eating is a trigger.
Tip: Encourage a slow and mindful eating or drinking process to help your child relax during the tasting experience.
- Smell: Introduce calming scents into your child’s space using essential oils or scented candles. Aromas like lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus can be incredibly soothing. Aromatherapy stuffed animals or playdough that is scented can be fun and comforting in an interactive way.
Tip: Keep the scents subtle to avoid overwhelming your child’s sense of smell, and ensure it’s a scent they enjoy.
- Sound: Soft or ambient music may also help in creating a serene atmosphere. Noise reducing headphones, relaxing music, white noise and nature sound machines are easy additions to any calm down kit for home or the classroom.
Tip: Create a “calm-down kit” containing various sensory toys and items to turn to when your child needs comforting.
- Sight: Dim the lights or use a nightlight to create a calming environment. An oil timer, lava lamps, bubbles, snow globes, eye mask or kaleidoscopes are other engaging tools a child can look at when feeling stressed.
Tip: Develop a routine where you practice calming techniques with your child, so they become familiar and turn to them naturally when feeling overwhelmed.
Remember that each child is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. Spend time discovering your child’s specific needs and preferences to find the most effective calming techniques for them. Here is an Instagram post to create the perfect “Calm Down Kit” or order your DeveloPLAY box for OT recommended toys!