Do you constantly feel like your child is getting distracted and needs to be reminded to complete a task? Or, do they constantly misplacing their personal items? Many of these behaviours are common in children, but they can be changed as they get older. Some, like children with special needs, can develop skills in self-management and executive functions.
Having strong emotional self-regulation skills can help people manage their emotions when they experience stressful situations.
When children become emotionally charged, try to help them manage their responses by encouraging them to reach their goals with their emotions.
1. Create an emotional levels chart or a calm down tool kit.
A visual aid that shows the different levels of emotions a child may feel is a great way to help them develop their own labels. For instance, it can be used to depict feelings of happiness, upset, and dissatisfaction.
They teach the user how to tailor-make these kits for particular individuals in order to help them learn to regulate before they are in full crisis mode. Children will need to be taught how to use their kit effectively,
This downloadable resource is a useful tool that teaches you how to create your own 'Calm Down Kit' which may be useful for your family or children in your class to help them decompress. It can be used with all children to help them learn how to become mindful and for children with the additional needs to help get them back on track before they reach their boiling point.
You can find our one which was created by a special needs expert here! https://acorneducational.ie/products/create-your-own-calm-down-tool-kit-for-asd-brain-break-visual-pdf-free
2. Set up a routine
A balanced lifestyle that includes a variety of leisure activities and learning will help your child develop a new daily schedule to help with regulation .
Dr Kobie Boshoff, a doctor from the University of South Australia said “This disruption to normal routines, such as not going to school and lack of normal face-to-face support from therapy providers will add to their apprehension and this in turn makes them less likely to focus or learn well.”
A clear and well used routine will help your children understand what's required of them in a much more comfortable way.
Showing procedure is a good way to guarantee routine!
3. Teach the child coping strategies.
Identify strategies that children can use when they are feeling upset or very upset and practice the strategies. Give the child hypothetical situations and role-play how to use those strategies.
1. Taking Deep Breaths
2. Counting to 20
3. Asking for help
4. Talking to a friend
5. Thinking of a compromise
6. Walking away
7. Letting it go.
Here's a good example of modeling in the real world
4. Teaching Positive Behaviour Strategies
Positive behaviour strategies promote behaviour that is conducive to learning. We begin by understanding that behaviour is a form of communication. In other words, behaviour reflects what a student needs. Our goal as teachers is to receive these messages and set our students up for success.
We have our own custom positive behaviour strategy created by Jessie; a Special Education Teacher who has worked in the field of Autism Education for almost 10 years. Jessie has taught children with autism from 2 to 18 years of age. She has worked with both verbal and non-verbal children, those with intellectual disabilities, ADHD, anxiety and complex challenging behaviours. Jessie’s resources are tried and tested in her own classroom.
It is a 32 page document that guides you on teaching 5 different behavioural skills; tolerating 'no', requesting help, tolerating 'finished', requesting a break and tolerating 'wait'.
5. Embrace Fidgeting
Fidgeting has been shown to relieve stress - just enough to keep us engaged with a task. Other studies have concluded that fidgeting leads to better recall. Doodling might work in the same way, helping us stay focused.
Benefits of Fidgeting
- It relieves stress
- It promotes sustained focus
- It can increase alertness
If fidgeting is an issue with your child, we have our own in-house fidget bag containing 14 fidget tools and is perfect for anyone who enjoys fidgeting. Whether that be at home, in the classroom, in the workplace or when simply relaxing that include all items listed below!