Not just for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory breaks are movements that incorporate sensory activities to help our children calm down, focus, learn and self-regulate.
These movements unite the brain, body, and the senses improving overall brain function in areas such as concentration, memory recall, reading and writing, organisation skills, physical coordination, and more. When you can access more areas of the brain, and use those areas more effectively, learning challenges and the stress and anxiety associated with them can disappear altogether increasing confidence and self-esteem.
The type of Sensory breaks or brain breaks that would best suit your child can be determined by an Occupational Therapist who will design a sensory diet to suit. This diet will include a variety of 2-3 minute movement breaks that can be performed every 15 minutes or so (depending on the individual child) in each of the child’s environments. eg: school and at home.
One example of a sensory break or brain break is Brain Gym Movements. Originally designed for individuals with learning challenges such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD, Brain Gym is now used to improve the overall functioning and quality of life by people of all ages.
An example of one brain gym exercise is Lazy 8’s for the eyes:
In the air, use your thumb to draw a sideways “8”. If you have trouble imagining the “8”, you can trace it on poster paper and stick on a wall in front of you. Start in the middle and trace. Concentrate your gaze on your thumbnail. Perform this on both hands 10 times each way. Once you have perfected this method try doing it without moving your head, simply move your eyes. Start with small “8’s” and then increase in size.
Other sensory breaks can include:
- Climb a tree
- Use a battery operated toothbrush
- Practise Breath work
- Play with playdough
- Make a calm down bottle
- Suck on a lollipop
- Jump on a trampoline
- Blow on a party blower
- Listen to Music
A printable list of “30 Sensory Breaks for Kids” can be found here.
If you think your child would benefit from having a personalised sensory diet written for them, please seek the services of an Occupational Therapist who will assess your child and devise a diet to suit.
© copyright. May not be reproduced without acknowledgement to the author. Written by Kim Norton 28th February 2021.