Children are bound to get angry from time to time. However, dealing with this anger may be difficult. Providing a routine that deals with anger and teaches a child appropriate emotional outlets is vital to keeping anger under control. Sensory activities can provide this needed outlet by placing the child's attention elsewhere.
Understanding Sensory Activities
Sensory activities are simply any item that stimulates one of the senses. It can be through sight, sound, touch, taste or smell. The University of Mexico suggests using a variety of sensory activities to redirect a child's anger and encourage appropriate calming techniques.
Calm Down Box
Kim Peterson, a licensed professional counselor and registered play therapist, suggests creating a special "calm down box" for your child. The box should contain items that are positive and focus on managing angry feelings and emotions. A variety of sensory toys and activities should be included that incorporate different senses. For example, textured balls to encourage touch or a rice bin to cater to hearing.
The University of Mexico encourages deep breathing exercises as an effective calming technique in children. Parents can incorporate a variety of other senses into deep breathing techniques with bubbles, pinwheels or balloons. Have the child blow bubbles repetitively to increase breathing. This also creates a visually appealing array of bubbles. Colorful pinwheels can be pleasing to the eye while encouraging breathing as well as balloons.
Fred Rogers, of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood," understood that children will get angry sometimes. He would ask children, "What do you do with the mad that you feel?" One suggestion was to express feelings in ways that don't hurt others through movement. Dancing, skipping, jump roping, drawing, running, swinging or any physical activity that promotes movement and interaction with a child's surroundings is encouraged. If the child can get outside, it provides touching, listening, smelling and visual stimulus.
Music provides stimulation of hearing and can create an atmosphere of calming. The University of Mexico suggests playing soft or calming music through headphones.This can be included in the calming box and listened to while the child is doing some of the other activities.
Have a special calming place for the child to take their calming box. The place can include sensory objects, such as soft pillows, colorful blankets or objects with pleasant scents. This is a place that promotes the senses and provides a nice spot to utilize the calming box.
Visualization techniques can be used to help a child visualize their anger leaving their body. There are a number of these techniques available online at the website Get Your Angries Out that only take about five minutes to complete. Children will visualize squeezing their anger out of their head or sailing over all the icy anger with ease. These techniques are provided online and are visually appealing and give a child mental stimulation.