26 AMAZING CALMING STRATEGIES FOR THE PLAYGROUND
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Some students, especially those with autism may find playground a difficult area, leading to anxiety. The continuous feed into the senses and the changeable nature of the playground is shattering. Moreover, students must also need a guideline to participate in games and activities.
When looking for a relaxing activity, keep your child’s developmental stage in your mind. For example, a child must need good language skills and ability to express themselves to make use of problem-solving and brainstorming techniques. Some such activities are given below:
- Blowing Out Birthday Candles – hold up your hand for your child; taking the ‘fingers’ as candles. After counting the five “candles’ together, make him blow each candle with a long breath. Fold down each finger slowly after the “candle” is burnt down.
- Blowing up Balloons – act as if you are taking out a balloon from your pocket and persuade your kid to do the same. Curve your hands together in front of your mouth. Take deep breaths as you slowly ‘inflate’ the balloon made out of your hand. After a few breaths, close your hands as to ‘deflate’ the balloon. Redo this five times.
- Sticky Hands – act like you have ‘sticky’ hands, and then press them together. Press them hard for 20 seconds. To make it more attractive, start counting with your child. Ask your child to release the hands now and check if the stickiness can be felt. Exercise this three to four times.
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- Stretching – simple stretches like touching the toes and jumping straight up to the sky on their tiptoes is also an interesting physical activity. Make your child lie down on his back and make alphabets with their bodies. Try “X” (making a cross with their legs and arms by spreading it out) and “T”, (joining the legs together and stretching the arms out). You can add your own activities using your own creativity! Don’t forget to begin with single stretch and move to more.
- Tense and Relax – ask your child to be in a tense situation, closing hands into fists and lifting shoulders up to their ears. Count up to five and then ask them to release the position and relax. Repeat five times. You can make use of props tagged as ‘squeeze balls’ to enhance the motion.
- Yoga – Many websites and books will guide you about yoga positions for children. Show your child some visuals help him get into a different situation with the help of examples. Here are some of them:
o The Leaf – sit with back straight, joining the feet together at the bottom and putting hands on ankles. Gently bent down and then set straight. Repeat many times.
o The Flower – sit with back straight, joining the feet together at the bottom and putting hands on ankles. Jounce knees gently towards the base 10 to 20 times.
o The Starfish – lie down with arms and legs stretched out comfortably. Lift up one arm at a time and then lower. Then raise one leg at a time straight up into the air. Later, try erecting one arm and the opposite leg together.
- Feeling Box – make a bag of a variety of touchable things together to feel, such as felt, leather, smooth stone, feather, fur, etc.
- Listening Centre – make soothing music with microphones or quiet instrument like rain stick available for your child.
- Visual Centre – make access to an area or box with dim lights and get some glow-in-the-dark stickers and toys that light up when placed in the dark.
Imaginative or Creative Thinking:
- Personal Stories – stories with your personal experience make children aware of different social situations and their coping strategies. You can teach very effectively with such kind of stories as they are applicable to a group of children of their interest.
- Story Books – empathy, understanding of emotions and promotion of communication can be taught effectively by storybooks that outline various social situations. It’s a helpful way to bring up your child with strong personal aspects and coping ability.
- Role Play – Roleplaying is a key to explore a situation, concept or social skill through play and it provides an opportunity to find different ways to handle stressful situations. It can be encouraged by using toys, puppets, and a proper dress-up.
- Problem Solving/Brain Storming – discussing problems or concerns with friends gives the child a way to express ideas, ask questions and finding possible answers in a safe and healthy environment. It generally starts by dropping down a question, problem or topic. The children are then motivated to let their ideas come out freely. You can also ask them to write their suggestions down or to draw a picture.
Positive Self Talk:
- “I Can” Flower – begin with the provision of a paper flower petal to every kid. Put the core of the flower in the center with words ‘I can” written on it. Ask each child to write something they can do on their petal and attach it with the core. You can make this game easier by giving them choices or examples or even show some photos to have it widely adopted. You can add a little more phrase in the core, like adding with my friends or at my home with that ‘I can’ icon.
- “I Can” Project – make your child goal oriented with this activity. Provide them a personal can or box and ask them to identify a goal they would like to get. Break the difficult goals into smaller and easier steps to make them possible to achieve. When the particular activity or goal is done, write it down on a small piece of paper and put it into their can. Remember to keep in view the developmental age of the child when assigning the tasks.
Tips for Infants and Young Toddlers
- Motion – breathing exercises like rocking, walking, dancing and taking swings aid the child to breathe properly and more regularly.
- Music – quiet and soothing music, or rhyming poems either sung or using a tape or CD is really helpful to calm a child.
- Changing position – The accurate position plays a really important part in keeping a child healthy and calm. Check the toddler’s response by changing different positions.
- Reduce Stimulation – dim light and a reduced amount of noise is also necessary.
- An easy way to keep infants engaged and clam are to make stress balls. One of the best things about them is that they are easy to make and can be carried in a bag or purse and are always accessible.
- Calming bottles are really good. Continuous watching of such bottles makes your child relax without them even noticing.
- Trampoline time – this idea may sound contrary to common sense expectation as jumping is never heard as calming down activity. But to calm down and settle down are totally different points. Some children really need some muscle activation to help them regulate. Jumping or bouncing is a good way to get this.
- Blowing bubbles is a good soothing technique. It naturally brings a deceleration in the child’s breathing rate.
- Make your child pay with lavender play dough. The key ways to relaxation are kneading, pressing and stretching the dough. The fragrance of lavender acts as an extra element.
- Throwing heavy beanbags at a target