All of the following activities provide a form of sensory input to the child that increases body awareness, regulates the body, and increases attention and focus:

  • Allow child 15-30 minutes of gross motor play prior to sitting for seated homework
    • For example: play with a weighted ball, lots of push/pull activities to make body “work”
  • Quick movement breaks throughout long seated periods of work aid in improving attention
    • For example: chair push ups, running in place, jumping jacks
  • Sitting on a therapy ball or wiggle disc while working at the table:
    • Provides “deep pressure” - provides subtle movement to improve blood flow in the brain and entire body.
    • Enables a lower energy child to pay closer attention and supports a high-energy child in getting sensory input to regulate behavior/increase focus while fidgeting quietly. 
  • Chewing on peppermint gum, drinking water from a straw water bottle
    • “Heavy work” for the mouth aids in regulating behavior and increasing focus
  • Quiet fidgets:
    • Quiet fidgets aid the brain in focusing on the primary task at hand
    • Optimal fidgets: any hand-held stretchy or squishy objects: koosh balls, squish balls, Velcro or a car wash mitt fastened under the table.
  • Minimize distractions in the environment:
    • Decreasing auditory and visual stimulation aids in maintaining calm, focused state.
    • For example, it would be harder to work in the kitchen while mom is cooking and people are walking in and out than in a quiet, organized workspace

What are some signs that your child would benefit from a break?

  • Wiggly, constantly sliding out of the chair
  • Distractingly fidgeting
  • Dozing off/falling asleep/daydreaming
  • Chews on pencil top, sleeves, any objects nearby
  • Frequent refusals, easily frustrated, or difficulty controlling emotions

Have questions? Ask an OT at Jones and they'll be happy to discuss further with you!

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