The Tool of the Month for December is jumping jacks. They can be used to help with blue zone feelings (low energy) to help energize and focus children. They can also be used for yellow zone feelings (a little too much energy) to help children calm and refocus. Ask your child to show you how to do jumping jacks and encourage them to utilize the strategy when you notice they are having difficulty self-regulating.
Looking for that perfect toy or game for the holidays? Check out our toy and gift suggestions to find one that your child will love that also works on fine motor, visual motor, gross motor, visual, and/or sensory processing skills. Whether you choose a seated activity like Frankie's Food Truck Fiasco or a whole body game like Flip 2B Fit, your friends and family will be entertained for hours while improving developmental skills.
The Tool of the Month for November 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 November "Tool of the Month" is and try it at home!
The Tool of the Month for October 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 kids 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 October "Tool of the Month" is and try it at home!
We've finally posted our updated Toy and Gift Suggestion List! Open the Toys & Gifts page on the left and click on the link for our recommendations for current and classic toys and games.
We hope your school year is off to a good start! Throughout the year we will continue have a Tool of the Month to promote self-regulation based on the Zones of Regulation Program. The Program was created by Occupational Therapist Leah Kuypers to teach children to identify how they are feeling and strategies to help them self-regulate. There are four zones: the blue zone (low energy or sad), the green zone (relaxed, content), the yellow zone (a little too much energy, worried or excited), and the red zone (too much energy or angry). See our Zones of Regulation page for more details. The Tool of the Month for September 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 May 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 recent 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 April 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.
Crossing the body's midline is the ability to reach across to the opposite side of the body with arms, legs, and eyes. This skill is necessary to perform many everyday tasks, such as writing and putting on clothing. Crossing midline creates new pathways in the brain that are the building blocks for developing complex motor and cognitive skills such as writing, reading, self-care and physical activities. Participating in activities involving crossing the midline helps children learn how to use both sides of their bodies so they can grow, learn, think, and move their bodies effectively. Click on the link below to access brain break activities that work on crossing midline.
Brain Break Link
The Tool of the Month for March is chair push-ups. They can be used to help with blue zone feelings (low energy) to help energize and focus children. They can also be used for yellow zone feelings (a little too much energy) to help children calm and refocus. Ask your child to show you how to do a chair push-up and encourage them to utilize the strategy when you notice they are having difficulty self-regulating.