Having children with ADHD, FASD, or multiple other frontal lobe disorders often requires a bit of extra assistance. Over the years I have discovered several items that have helped calm my children, get out extra energy, help them focus and ease their anxiety. These are my top sensory and calming picks to help you with your child!
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Goda Acupressure Massage Rings
I first discovered these rings on accident. I had purchased one from a local essential oils store and bought it for myself for the massage properties it advertised. As I was fidgeting with it, I realized it was not only an excellent fidget toy, but I could feel the calming effects of it. I tested it out by giving it to one of my kids who struggles with anxiety. He absolutely loved it! He simply puts the ring on and rolls it between his fingers. The great thing about this item is that it is cheap ($3 per ring), small enough to keep hidden in your pocket, and relatively inconspicuous for kids who worry about others or who might be older and not want to bring attention to themselves. I have since given them to all my children and routinely keep them in the house for all of us!
This is another favorite in our house. Many of my kids use this one to help focus and help ease anxiety. I have even brought it in my purse to play with during long presentations or stressful days at work. I recommend this one for everyone!
The sensory swing is another great option for kids with frontal lobe disorders like ADHD and FASD. This is an item categorized in the “heavy” work department, which places pressure on the child’s system and creates a calming effect. The child simply climbs into the swing and plays! How fun is that? Due to the tight space the swing creates, it forces the body to be mushed in on itself, creating a similar affect to a tight hug.
Thinking putty is another great option! We have used this item for calming, getting focused and anxiety. I have also used this one as a social worker, and have known other social workers to use it too, to help with stressful phone calls and the rigors of the day. This putty is great because it becomes pliable the more you work with it, but is hard when resting, creating less mess. It comes in a handy tin to keep it safe, and is the perfect size to fidget with.
The Gorilla Gym looks AMAZING! I unfortunately have not tried this one first hand yet, but my friend Ali has, and has nothing but great things to say about! I couldn’t leave this one off the list. It is on my own list of items to get ASAP, as my kids are very hyper and need to burn energy at all times of the day. This item is basically a pull-up bar that hangs inside a door-frame with tons of great child friendly attachments! We recently renovated our house and didn’t have the mouldngs up yet to hold it, but now that they are finally here, I will be purchasing this set! It helps for rainy days when you can’t get outside, or any time of day when you need to accomplish something. Perhaps set it up in your kitchen doorway and get dinner cooked with ease!! You can also use it when needing to redirect your child to a different activity. I definitely recommend this one and will be getting it too!
Ball pits are a great option for heavy work. My preference is to have a pit that has hard surfaces to get a tighter fit with the balls, thus creating greater effort required in the ball pit. Some ideas would be a hard plastic kiddie pool or what is shown in the image above. You can make a game in the ball pits by placing objects in it for the kids to find, making them bend and dig and use their muscles, ultimately creating a calming effect. My kids loved this!
A tunnel is another great toy that forces the child to bend their body in on themselves for heavy work, thus creating a calming effect. What I love about the tunnel, is that it is portable. If you are heading to family’s house, or vacation, or even babysitters house, you can simply fold this down and bring it with you! There are endless creative games and ways you can use the tunnel, as long as the child is crawling through or lying inside!
Weighted Animal Lap Toy
These weighted animals toys are ideal for kids in school, or to find some quiet moments at home. At school, my kids simply place the weighted animal on their lap, and due to its weighted design, it creates the same effect of heavy work, and allows the child to be calm and work on their school work. Due to it’s child like design, it also easily blends in and most kids enjoy having it on their lap. We use it at school but it could be a huge benefit at home too for falling asleep or participating in a seated activity.
Many kids with ADHD and FASD struggle with oral fixation. My one daughter’s bed looks like a beaver lives on it. For years we struggled with ruined furniture, toys, and clothes. We eventually tried out the common “chewelery” which is a colorful coiled bracelet or necklace meant for kids to chew. Once my daughter got a bit older, however, the chewlery was too childish. That is when they started coming out with really beautiful teething necklaces for mom’s to wear for their babies! I figured hey, why can’t my daughter wear it? So I have since bought her these beautiful teething necklaces that look fashionable, but she can bring it up to her mouth and chew on it as needed! She loves them and so do I!
You can also buy a lego brick option if your child is not interested in the girly look!
These are newer in my world, but are another great option as a fidget toy! Unlike fidget spinners which can be distracting to teachers, these can simply be placed in a pocket or inside a desk ready to fidget with unbeknownst to those around! This is another one that even adults can benefit from.
I hope these items have helped and will bring some comfort and calming into your home! Let me know if you have any questions or anything you think should be added to this list!
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