As a parent, it can be difficult to see your child struggling in the classroom. If your child is autistic, they may have difficulty coping with the sensory input and social interaction in the typical school setting. These tips will help your autistic child calm down in the classroom.
Why Do We Need Calming Strategies for Kids with Autism?
Calming strategies can help your child cope with the anxiety and stress they may be feeling.
There are a variety of calming strategies that you can use with your child. The key is to find what works best for them. Every child is different, so you may need to try a few different things before you find the perfect fit.
Some common calming strategies include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Sensory activities (i.e., listening to calming music, using a weighted blanket)
- Visual aids (i.e., a visual schedule of the day’s events)
You can also talk to your child’s teacher about incorporating calming strategies into their daily routine at school. This can help your child feel more comfortable and less anxious during the school day.
But before you incorporate calming methods, it’s important to know when to use them. In doing so, you can be sure that you’re making the best use of calming strategies at the right time.
When to Use Calm Down Strategies for Kids
There are three main times when you might want to use calm-down strategies for kids with autism.
The first is when your child is feeling overwhelmed or stressed in a particular situation, like the classroom. Maybe there are too many people around or too much noise, and your child is starting to feel overwhelmed.
In this case, using calm-down strategies can help your child get through the situation without becoming too upset.
The second time you might want to use calm-down strategies is when your child is having a meltdown. This is when your child is feeling so overwhelmed and stressed that they can’t keep it together anymore, and they start to lose control.
Using calm-down strategies helps reduce stress and hopefully prevent meltdowns from happening in the first place.
The third time you might want to use calm-down strategies is when your child is feeling angry or frustrated. Maybe they’re having a hard time with a task, or they didn’t get their way.
Calm-down strategies can help your child deal with their emotions in a healthy way and hopefully prevent tantrums from happening.
You can find out how to effectively use these strategies below.
How to Use Calming Strategies for Kids with Autism at Home or in the Classroom
When kids with autism become overwhelmed, they may have meltdowns or tantrums. But there are things you can do to help them calm down and avoid these outbursts.
You need to be able to tell the difference between when you’re using calming strategies to prevent hyperactivity, stress, and meltdowns and when you’re using them in response to an incident.
This distinction is important because you want to avoid inadvertently rewarding bad behavior.
There are a variety of calming strategies that you can use, and the best ones will vary depending on the child and the situation. Let’s explore these now.
10 Best Calm Down Methods for the Classroom
1. Calming Activities
Calming activities serve to distract and engage a child’s senses in a positive way, helping to soothe and relax them.
Keeping children occupied can help prevent meltdowns from happening in the first place by keeping them calm and relaxed.
Remember, children with autism often thrive on structure, so providing a routine for them to follow can be very helpful.
2. Quiet Music
Playing quiet, calming music in the background can help soothe and relax an autistic child who is feeling overwhelmed or agitated. Make sure to choose music that is specifically calming and not too stimulating.
3. Calming Videos
There are many videos available online that are specifically designed to help calm and relax autistic children. These videos often feature calming images and sounds and can be a great tool for helping an autistic child to de-stress in the classroom.
4. Calm Down Games
Playing calm-down games is a great way to help an autistic child to relax and de-stress in the classroom. There are many games available online and in calm-down kits specifically designed for autistic children.
5. Teach Calm Down Techniques
Teaching an autistic child specific calm-down techniques can help them to learn how to calm themselves down when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
Some common techniques include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and using a sensory toy.
6. Sensory Activities
Autistic children often benefit from sensory activities that help to calm and relax them. Sensory bins filled with calming items such as soft fabrics, putty, or essential oils can be a great way to help an autistic child de-stress in the classroom.
7. Calm Down Corner Technique
The calm down corner technique is a great way to help an autistic child calm down in the classroom. This involves creating a designated area in the classroom where an autistic child can go to calm down and de-stress.
This area should be stocked with calming items such as a soft blanket, a stuffed animal, and a few favorite books.
8. Oral Sensory Input
Oral sensory input can be a great way to help an autistic child calm down and de-stress. Chew toys and gum are great options to help an autistic child self-regulate and calm down.
9. Relaxing Group Activities
Dance parties are a great way to help kids calm down and have fun at the same time. Oftentimes, autistic children struggle to participate in large groups, but dancing is a great way to get them moving and interacting with others.
10. Increase Physical Activity
Research shows that physical activity can help improve focus and concentration in children with autism. Try incorporating some calming yoga poses into your child’s daily routine to help them wind down and relax.
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the classroom, but these 10 calm-down methods can help your autistic child feel more relaxed and focused. With a little patience and creativity, you can create a calm and nurturing environment that will benefit all your child.
If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.