We know the importance of keeping a sensory routine at school to help students with sensory processing issues stay focused, calm and hopefully meltdown free during the day. Yet a good sensory diet or “sensory lifestyle” begins at home so if you have a child who has trouble even rising, much less shining out of bed in the morning, try these simple tips:
1. Give the child with SPD issues extra time to get out of bed. A visual timer may help with this. (i.e. wake the child up, say you have 10 or 15 minutes before you have to get up then place the 3″ Timer at the child’s bedside.
2. A morning hug provides positive feedback along with good proprioceptive input. This kind of deep touch pressure promotes input to the muscles and joints which may help with body awareness, calming and self-regulation.
3. Give him/her a glass of orange juice to sip via a straw Use a small juice box or other contained options such as Mr. Juice Bear for younger kids) to help during the transition. Sucking from a straw promotes good heavy work input through the muscles of the lips, mouth and jaw and may help with self-regulation while the sweet/sour taste of the juice may help with alerting.
4. Lay out clothes and backpack with completed homework the evening before.
5. Picture and/or visual schedules are a must! Define the task that need to be done in sequence before going off to school (wash face; eat breakfast, brush teeth, etc.). A simple paint stick with hook and loop tabs to attach actual photos works great as a timeline or check out the Daily Routine Charts or the Door Buddy system.
Parents and/or other caregivers are key to helping a child with SPD issues be successful in any environment.