Packable Proprioception

 

By Kaelyn Green MA, OTR/L

Packable Proprioception

Dysregulation and an increase in arousal level doesn’t always happen during visits to the park or while playing at home. It is more likely that an increase in “silly behavior” or decreased regulation occur during those situations you least want them too. Dysregulation in environments like dining out at a restaurant, while sitting at church, during a holiday shopping trip, etc. can cause a lot of stress for you, your family, and your child! Especially during this time of year, when family gatherings and social situations are occurring frequently, having a series of tips and tricks to help calm your child can alleviate family stress and anxiety. 

Dysregulation and an increase in arousal level doesn’t always happen during visits to the park or while playing at home. It is more likely that an increase in “silly behavior” or decreased regulation occur during those situations you least want them too. Dysregulation in environments like dining out at a restaurant, while sitting at church, during a holiday shopping trip, etc. can cause a lot of stress for you, your family, and your child! Especially during this time of year, when family gatherings and social situations are occurring frequently, having a series of tips and tricks to help calm your child can alleviate family stress and anxiety. 

 
1. Animal Walks: Whether it’s bear walks, crab walks, or bunny hops, animal walks are a great way to provide whole-body proprioception. There are so many wonderful youtube videos with how-to’s, but some of my favorites are bear walks, army crawls, and monster walks.
2. Chair Push Ups: These are simple and easy to implement even in the car! Having your child push their body up away from their chair is a quick way to provide intense input to the upper extremities and core.
3. Theraputty: Theraputty is a fun way to shift your slime-loving child to an activity with fine motor strengthening and proprioception benefits! Hide small items or beads in the putty for a fun treasure hunt, or roll the putty into snakes or snowmen.
4. Yoga Poses: Yoga is a fun way to calm the body, especially when the space you have available isn’t large enough for animal walks. Try downward facing dog, snake pose, tree pose, or bridges (some of my favorite ones to use with my clients!)
5. Squeeze balls: There are so many different varieties of squeeze balls and resistive balls available, so it’s hard to recommend a specific brand or type. Try looking for something that isn’t too hard for your child to squeeze, but isn’t so light that it will break with intense use. This is a fun thing to include in your car-trip bag to help with regulation on the go!
6. Carrying Weighted Bags or Backpacks: The one thing almost always accessible for long trips is a heavy suitcase or backpack. Provide your child opportunities to push, pull, drag, or carry weighted bags or backpacks for extra heavy work in airport terminals or before you load up the car to drive home. Be careful not to make it too heavy for your child. You want your child to be able to carry or push/pull the bad with good posture and form.

If you have additional concerns regarding your child’s self-regulation, contact Valued Voices for a consultation or screening with our occupational therapist!

 

Kaelyn Green, MA, OTR/L

Kaelyn Green, MA, OTR/L

Kaelyn Green is a licensed occupational therapist at Valued Voices. She is certified by the University of Southern California in Sensory Integration and is an advocate for addressing underlying sensory functioning in order to improve occupational performance.  She is passionate about meeting children and families where they are at and seeks to tailor interventions to the unique needs of her clients. When she is not working, you will find Kaelyn taking care of her two goldendoodles, working in her garden, or taking trips to the Central Coast.

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