With These Sensory-Rich Activities
You can see it happening, almost in slow motion: Your child goes from playing and laughing to frowning in less than a second. They start to cry, and suddenly, a meltdown is underway.
Is this just the way raising young kids is? Does a lack of sleep, change in routine, or intense hunger always have to lead to a meltdown? While it’s human to feel emotions and express them, you can use certain strategies to help your child navigate major emotions and calm down. The key is helping them tap into their central nervous system with activities that engage their senses.
The Best Activities for Helping Kids Cope With Stress
Just like adults, younger kids sometimes need support to regulate their emotions, especially in situations that are stressful for them.
That’s where activities that engage the five senses can be really beneficial. Sensory activities that utilize the five senses can help your little one connect their body to their immediate surroundings and the larger world around them.
Here are some sensory-rich activities that can help kids feel calmer in stressful times:
- Make a pile of pillows and jump into it.
- Put on some fun music and dance.
- Bounce your little one on your lap or an exercise ball.
- Take them for a spin around the house in a box or laundry basket; kids can even race each other.
- Create a slide by propping a mattress or exercise mat against the couch.
These are activities you can use right where you are to help your child find their calm again, even in a meltdown. According to early childhood development expert Alyssa Blask Campbell, sensory input stays in the system for about two hours, meaning even just five minutes of these types of activities can give you and your child hours of calm throughout the day.