Why are sensory breaks important?
Sensory breaks are important because they are a way for any child, whether they have sensory needs or not, to reset, decompress, and get the blood flowing back into their brains. Having a break will allow a child to slow down, calm the mind and reconnect making way for a clearer path before going on to the next task.
Visual Schedules help: Try to incorporate structure and routine into a child’s daily life as much as possible. Having a solid routine supports a child’s ability to anticipate what is happening next.
It can be as simple as an organized chart on the refrigerator with weekly before/after school activities, reminders to brush teeth, eat 5 fruit and veg a day. It helps a child to know what is expected and to understand what the day has in store.
Deep Pressure– or “Heavy work” activities:
These are wonderful for providing children with the input they crave including deep touch and joint compression.
Heavy Work Activities for Teachers/parents–
- Scooter board to and from a designated location (sit or lie on stomach and propel with arms).
2. Place chairs on desks at end of day or take down at beginning of day.
3. Erase or wash the chalkboard.
4. Carry beanbags on shoulders or head and walk across the room. Wear weighted vests, belts or wrist weights.
5. Help rearrange desks in the classroom.
6. Push the teacher around on a wheeled chair or scooter board.
7. Pull someone while they sit on a scooter board holding onto a hula hoop.
8. Child can pull himself/herself up a ramp while on a scooter board.
9. Help out the janitor with emptying wastebaskets, mop the floor, etc.
Deep pressure/ massages over the arms and legs, the use of weighted blankets, rocking/swinging, and decreased auditory and visual input can lead to a sense of calm that is necessary for a good sleep.
When we feel tired we do provide ourselves with sensory breaks, chewing gum, coffee…. What our children need to re-group for homework prep?
Young as Old:
All children regardless of age need sensory breaks and applied deep pressure. The difference is how aware they are for their needs? If not…. Your job to support them.