October 9, 2023
It’s mid afternoon and you’re getting ready to run errands with your child. You tell your child it’s time to go and they begin to scream and cry. Or maybe they still aren’t dressed even after reminding them a third or fourth time to complete the task. It takes you an hour to get your child ready and you’re finally able to head out the door.
For some kids, transitions can be really hard and cause meltdowns. For others, they may need several reminders to complete parts of the routine. In this article, we will identify self regulation strategies you can use to help make transitions smooth and stress free for everyone involved.
First, let’s talk about proprioception. Proprioception is input we receive from our muscles and joints (such as knees, elbows, and ankles) and gives information about where our bodies are in space. This is a “secret sense” that isn’t taught in school when talking about the 5 senses. It is an important factor when it comes to successful transitions, as proprioceptive input is very regulating, and helps calm and organize our bodies and minds.
These activities are low prep and beginner friendly. Complete a minimum of 5 repetitions of each move for two-three sets. You can play their favorite song while they’re completing this for motivation. Visual timers can also be helpful (Little Timer Hatch Countdown is interactive and fun)
Here are some self regulation strategies to try about 15-30 minutes before a transition:
Place palms of hands on wall, with elbows straight. Slowly bend elbows to bring chest towards wall. Encourage child to push with medium force into the wall.
While seated in chair, have child place palms on either side on chair and push into chair, lifting themselves a few inches and then releasing.
Animal walks are an excellent (and fun) way to get in some extra muscle work with little prep. Simply set the distance – could be the distance of the hallway, around the couch, or from one room to another, select a card, and walk! We’ve created a deck of 8 different animal cards for you to print off and have on hand when you need help transitioning. Download your copy of our animal walk card deck by joining our free resource library.
Jumping in place, hopping, jumping over items (pillows, toys, chalk lines outside).
Through moving and providing our bodies with proprioceptive input, transitions can be a pleasant and fun experience for all. Be sure to visit our resource library to download our Animal Walk Card Deck, and our blog for helpful information on sensory processing, self regulation, and all things occupational therapy.
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