Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scaries and Crashies

When thinking about kids and movement, it ranges from children that feel uncomfortable with even one foot off the ground to kids that can't get enough rides on the scrambler or like to bump into things or crash into the wall on purpose.  There is much you can do during the early years of child development to enhance sensory integration skills.  Here are some ideas to help with both types of children:

Movement Sensitivity
  • To reduce gravitational insecurity (being nervous or scared when off balance) try swinging gently on a flat glider swing, jumping on a bounce pad, play row your boat with child sitting on a ball
  • Rolling first on level ground, then down increasing grades of decline
  • Swinging in a blanket
  • Encourage swinging but don’t force (first low swing that feet touch the ground or hold him on your lap, hammock swing)
  • Spinning (don’t spin without child’s permission, maybe over stimulating)
  • Sliding different ways
  • Riding vehicles
  • Jumping on trampoline
  • Walking on unstable surfaces
  • Rhythmic rocking
  • Seesaw
  • T-stool
  • Sitting on a ball or lying
  • Tummy down, head up activities, try doing puzzles lying on your tummy on a pillow or ball
  • Hoppity hop ball so the child can control the amount of sensory input coming
  • A large tree swing or porch swing provides a gentler motion than playground swings
Seeks Sensation and Movement
  • Carrying heavy loads
  • Slow, rocking movement (rocking chair, therapy ball or swing)
  • Pushing and pulling
  • Hanging by arms on playground equipment
  • Pillow crashing
  • Hermit crab - place a large bag of rice or beans of the child’s back and let her move around with the heavy “shell” on her back
  • Joint squeezes
    • Put one hand on the child’s forearm and the other hand on his upper arm.  With slow, firm pressure, push his forearm and upper arm toward the elbow; then, pull them away.
    • Push and pull the muscles near his knees and shoulders.
    • Some kids feel centered with slight pressure on their shoulders or heads, press evenly, but not so much that the child feels trapped.
    • Slowly straighten and bend his fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and toes.  
    • These extension and flexion techniques provide traction and compression to the joints and are effective when you're stuck in tight spaces, such as church pews, movie theaters, cars, trains, and especially airplanes where the gravity changes.
  • Body squeezes
    • Sit on the floor behind your child, straddling him with your legs
    • Put your arms around his knees, draw them toward his chest, and squeeze hard
    • Holding tight, rock him forward and back.
  • Bear hugs, aim for at least 12 hugs a day, teach the child to hug himself before activities in which he's required to sit
  • Pouring, the bigger the cups, jugs, and wading pool, the better for heavy work
  • Opening doors
  • Ripping paper or cardboard... my kids love to do this and break small branches for kindling for our fireplace
  • Playing ‘bumpety-bump’ on the tire swing
  • Line up standing back-to-back, play ‘hold up the wall’ by pushing into a wall with hands, back, lay down and push the wall with feet
  • Tug-of-war
  • Bulldozer- mat/cardboard – push load across the floor
  • Playing catch
  • Roughhousing
  • Arm wrestling
  • Leapfrog
  • Warm bath - hold bubbles in hands and blow them, spray bottles, squeeze toys or ring out washcloth, wrap up like a mummy or bear hug dry off to calm
  • Crunchy cereal, firm fruit (apples)
  • Deep massage to body using lotion, try a lavender scent before bedtime
  • Try sleeping or resting with a weighted blanket... don't go for more than 10% of your child's body weight for safety.

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