Change can be an unsettling time for children with ADHD and they may find it challenging to express how they are feeling. In our recent webinar with Emma Weaver of the ADHD Foundation titled ‘Supporting your child’s reurn to school’, Emma shared some great techniques to help calm and regulate children and ways to open up indirect methods of communication with them.
- Wear compression vests under school clothes for those that benefit from light pressure
- Use noise cancelling headphones if noise is a trigger for unhelpful behaviour or feelings
- Tie a resistance band around the legs of a chair to press legs and feet against
- Carrying a grounding item in their pocket – such as a familiar smell on a handkerchief or a photo of a person or pet that calms them
- 5 finger breathing is a simple technique for children where they trace around their fingers as they breathe, find a link here to our webinar with Charlotte O’Reilly webinar where she demonstrates this (video opens at demonstration)
- Fill an old sock or similar with rice or dried beans and use as a squeezy toy or try something larger and use for light compression on the lap or shoulders
- Roll on a yoga ball, jump on a trampoline, push hands hard together or do push-ups against a wall
- Look into mindfulness apps. There are many available and two of Emma’s favourites are ‘Stop, breathe & think kids’ for younger children and ‘Moodgym’ for teens.
Find more ideas on the Calm Zone, a childline resource https://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/calm-zone/
Sensory spaces at home
- Build a camp with sheets and blankets or get an indoor teepee for those that need a quiet den-type space
- Moving lights such as lava lamps, night sky projections and bubble tubes can be soothing and are available relatively cheaply online
- Put together a sensory box filled with fiddle toys, squishy balls, playdoh and other handheld sensory items.
- Indoor hanging chairs and hammocks are not as expensive as they sound and swinging is great for sensory regulation. Just be sure to have it hung correctly.
For more information on creating a sensory space see our webinar on ‘Creating a sensory home’ with Charlotte O’Reilly from April 2020. Watch the recording here.
Opening up indirect communication channels
Not all children will respond well to direct questions about how they are feeling, here are some ideas to open up communication channels in other ways.
- Have a shared journal where the children can write down how they are feeling and parents are able to read it at a later time
- If suitable, perhaps they can send you a text or email about how they are feeling
- Use the Blob Tree worksheets (www.blobtree.com) where children can point out which ‘blob’ they think represents how they are feeling by pointing or colouring
- Go for a walk or a drive or do an activity together like baking. Not being face to face can help children to feel more comfortable when talking