Incorporating sensory breaks throughout the day can make a huge difference for your child. If you see that they can’t seem to focus or complete a task without getting distracted, then they may need a short sensory boost first. Kids’ needs often change day to day, so it’s important to have a system for identifying what they will benefit from most.
Our occupational therapists created a printable for you to use that allows your child to create a personalized sensory break. Offering children a visual choice board can decrease the risk of feeling overwhelmed by decision-making. It ensures that they recognize what their options are and what sensory needs they are seeking to fill.
1. Identify what category of sensory stimulation they need
Does your child need a boost to become more alert? Would they benefit from calming stimulation? Or do they want deep pressure input? Based on which category they choose, present them with the appropriate list of options. By showing them only the options relevant to their chosen category, you reduce distraction and their feeling overwhelmed.
2. Let them choose three activities from the list
Picking two or three of the five possible activities is a good way to ensure that when your child needs to take their sensory break, they won’t be overwhelmed by possibilities. Kids can affix their choices to their own board so that they can refer to it as needed.
3. Use the board as a reminder for the day
Whether you schedule sensory breaks or allow kids to take them as needed, having the board in front of them enables kids to remind themselves what their activity choices are without needing to ask for help each time. Make sure that any tools needed are accessible to the children!
At the end of the day, have kids return the category and activity choices to your master board so that they can create a new sensory break next time!
What helps you create effective sensory breaks for your kids? Share what helps you in the comments below or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Download the Sensory Break Board here.