One of the core reasons we support our rigid, anxious, and distracted kids with visual aids is that many sensory kids have a hard time understanding and processing abstract ideas.  By giving them a concrete road map, we are painting a picture in their head that speaks to their way of processing and learning.

A common overwhelming and abstract idea for sensory kids to understand is feelings.  Emotions are difficult to access, express, and work through for even the most well-adjusted adults out there so you can imagine what these can do our sensory kids. Some consistent challenges for sensory kids include identifying and regulating their own emotions as well as recognizing and reading emotions in other people.  Here are a few tips to support our sensory kids with emotional processing:

  • IDENTIFY: Start by creating a concrete way for your child to identify and label their emotions.  Maybe the Lego lover could get all different color legos and each color would identify a different feeling – Blue Lego – sad, Yellow Lego – happy, Red Lego – energetic, Black Lego – Angry.  Get creative and make it relevant to your sensory child.
  • RATE: Make an emotional rating scale for your child.  It can be a 1-10 scale, freezing cold to hot lava, a picture of a child crying to a picture of a child laughing – any sort of benchmark that helps your child identify where they fall within the spectrum of emotions.
  • DEMONSTRATE: Talk through the process of your feelings as you are going through them in front of your child.  Have them watch and hear you label your emotion (exaggerating facial expressions can be helpful), see how you rate your emotion on a scale, and walk yourself through calming down.  Seeing in action is a powerful tool!

Take feelings and make them real for your sensory child.  Embrace those small opportunities to help them understand the confusing and give them ways to appreciate and learn from their emotions.  Here’s to simple sensory solutions for raising calm, connected, and attentive kids!