These easy activities all use repetitive, rhythmic movement to provide gentle stimulation to the vestibular system, which can help keep kids calm.
A few weeks ago, I shared one of my all-time favorite simple calming sensory tricks that I use with kids in my therapy practice on a daily basis.
That trick was so easy and effective that it made me think of another one of my tried and true favorite calming strategies for kids: repetitive, rhythmic movement.
Think of all of the ways we use to soothe a crying infant. We swaddle them, we sing to them, we shush them and, last but not least…we rock them (or, in other words, we provide them with repetitive, rhythmic movement). Why? Read on to find out!
How to Use Movement as a Calming Strategy
There are many strategies we can use to help kids with calming and self-regulation – from calming breathing techniques to guided meditation for kids to calming sensory strategies for school. One of the most effective calming strategies for many kids is movement.
Rapid or less predictable movement experiences, as well as activities that include rotary movement (spinning), tend to have more of an alerting effect on kids.
On the other hand, slow, linear, and repetitive movements are often used by therapists to provide calming vestibular input for kids who tend to demonstrate a heightened level of arousal and alertness.
Keeping Kids Calm: The Best Calming Movement Ideas
Try the following ideas, toys, and activities while focusing on keeping a slow pace and providing linear, repetitive, predictable rhythmic movement.
1 || Swinging on an indoor or outdoor swing
3 || Rolling forward and back over an exercise ball
5 || Rolling forward and back over a bolster
7 || Gentle bouncing on an exercise ball
10 || Gentle bouncing on a Slackline
12 || Rocking on a Balance Board
13 || Rolling forward and backward on a scooter
14 || Rocking on a hammock