Importance of Sensory Breaks In Young Children With Down Syndrome

This school year probably looks a little different for your child than a traditional year. You may find yourself in the role of your child’s teacher, and therapist, as well as their parent. This blog post is all about Sensory Breaks which are a quick and easy way to help your child rest and refocus. 

What is a sensory break? A sensory break is essentially a break from concentrating that allows children to rest and recharge their brains. Sensory breaks are especially important for children with developmental delays, as they may have difficulty regulating the sensory that they are receiving. I am sure you have noticed by now if your child is doing any form of “remote learning” that their attention is very limited, and multiple sensory breaks throughout the day would be very beneficial to their overall wellbeing.

What activities can I do with my child as a sensory break at home? 

    • Jumping jacks
    • Passing a ball
    • Bouncing on a therapy or an exercise ball
    • Yoga moves
    • Dance!
    • Concentrated deep breathing 
    • Jog in place
    • Walk outdoors
    • Listen to music
    • Wiggle your body!
    • Touch your right hand to your left shoulder, and left hand to right shoulder
    • Squeeze a stress ball
    • Grab a milk jug, and practice putting a clothespin into the hole
    • Give yourself a hug 
    • Finger puppets
    • Blocks/Crafts
    • Play a game of Twister or Simon Says
    • Get streamers or ribbons
    • Balancing on one foot 
    • Twist at the waist with arms out to the side 
    • Play in the leaves
    • Animal walks (crab walk, bear)
    • Pour dry items (beans, rice) back and forth between two containers 
    • Play with playdough or kinetic sand
    • Rip pieces of paper or cardboard
    • Help with household chores!

How often should my child take a sensory break? 

  • Typically, a sensory break happens every 1-2 hours, and each break lasts for about 10-15 minutes! 

What are the benefits of sensory breaks? 

  • Improved attention and focus
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Improved gross motor skills (kicking a ball, running)
  • Increase in motivation and cooperation
  • Reduced behavioral problems
  • Helps improve reading the ability to track across a page
  • Improves handwriting skills
  • and helps a child be successful at self care skills

If your child is feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by his or her school work, we suggest any of the activities listed above as fun at-home sensory breaks! 

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