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The Tool of the Month for March is alternative seating options. They provide sensory input to help calm, if you are in the yellow or red zone, or alert, if you are in the blue zone. There are many benefits of alternative seating options including improved participation and behavior, higher academic performance, better attention and focus, improved core strength and posture, and reduced restlessness.
Different seating options provide appropriate outlets for moving and fidgeting during the school day and at home. When children are taught to identify and honor their preferences for fidgeting, movement, and alternative positioning, they feel that their needs are being recognized, thereby increasing their engagement and motivation in the activity. No one is meant to sit still all day long, especially kids!
Possible alternative seating options include:
We encourage you to ask your child what the March "Tool of the Month" is!
The Tool of the Month for February is using your “inner coach”. Your “inner coach” is that voice you hear in your head that is like your own personal cheerleader. Your “inner coach” helps you to use positive self-talk to give you the courage and strength to get through a stressful situation. It can remind you to use strategies to stay calm and stay positive.
You can discuss with children times when they may most need their “inner coach”, for example if they are worried about a test or trying something that is new. Then have them practice words they can say that will help them. Remember, thoughts and feelings are connected. If you use your “inner coach” to say “I can do it,” it will change how you feel.
Try these out for size:
I can do it!
It’s hard, but I can keep trying!
I don’t know it….YET!
I’ll try a different strategy...
Mistakes help me to learn.
I’m going to train my brain.
We encourage you to ask your child what the February "Tool of the Month" is and try it at home!
The Tool of the Month for January is Body Pretzels. Body Pretzels help with attention and organization by relaxing the mind and body as energy circulates. They can be done while sitting or standing.
Instruct your child to do the following:
The Tool of the Month for December is hand fidgets. Hand fidgets can be used to help you refocus if you have blue zone (low energy) or yellow zone feelings (a little too much energy). With the popularity of spinners and fidget boxes, it is important to talk about the appropriate use of hand fidgets. The purpose of utilizing a hand fidget is to adjust your state to take you where you need to be, for example, from the yellow to the green zone. A fidget is not effective if it takes you to another place (i.e., takes your mind away from the group or the task you are working on) unless you are taking a break from work. Below are pictures of hand fidgets that are available at Plymouth River and Foster Schools.
The Tool of the Month for November is Size of the Problem. Size of the Problem helps kids think about what the ACTUAL size of a problem is so they can think about what size their reaction should be. It's important to acknowledge that for some kids, small problems may feel big, but they can use tools to SHOW a small reaction on the outside even if it feels big on the inside.
Tiny and small problems can be solved quickly without any outside help, like your pencil breaking during a test. Medium and big problems usually need help from someone else and take longer to solve, like not knowing where you are supposed to go after school or being hurt on the playground. Huge problems are emergencies that always need outside help to solve, sometimes from multiple people and may take days or weeks, like a fire or hurricane.
Your child can use the chart below to rate and compare the size of the problem and the size of their reaction on a scale of 1 to 10.
The Tool of the Month for October is lifting weights. Everyday household items, such as individual water bottles filled with water or sand, can be used if you do not have actual weights. Lifting weights can be done to help with blue zone feelings (low energy) to help energize and focus children. It can also be done when your child is in the yellow zone (has a little too much energy) to help calm and refocus them. Lifting weights provides proprioceptive input to the muscles and joints. This can be the most effective type of input to help individuals self-regulate since it helps with the processing of movement and tactile input and makes us aware of where our bodies are in space in relationship to other people and objects, thereby helping to ground us. Encourage your child to try lifting weights when you notice they are having difficulty self-regulating.
Tip of the Month - September 2019
This month: introduce your child to the engine zones (Zones of Regulation). This is a great way to get your child to better understand and identify their energy and emotional levels and teaches them different tools to help better regulate themselves. The best thing to do is to just start incorporating the terminology into your everday language i.e. "Johnny it's time for bed so let's read a book to get into the blue zone", "Susie you look like you're in the yellow zone, lets go on the swing out back for a few minutes to get in the green zone to be able to do homework"
The May “Tool of the Month” is Noise Cancelling Headphones. They may be helpful if your child needs to focus on homework or calm their brain and/or body. They can be used in a large or noisy environment when your child may become overstimulated or while your child is working quietly on an assignment, reading a book, or coloring. The headphones reduce auditory distractions, thereby helping your child focus on the task at hand, rather than on the noises around them.