Our body has an internal sense known as proprioception, which is basically our sense of body awareness. Our body senses proprioception through messages sent to the brain from sensory receptors in our muscles and joints. These sensations from the muscles and joints tell us how our bodies are moving, what each body part is doing in relation to the others, and where they are in space. Proprioceptive input tends to have a calming and organizing effect on the body, particularly when feeling overstimulated or overwhelmed. Proprioception also helps us better balance the sensory input coming in.
Children have difficulty knowing when they are overstimulated and need input. Typically, heavy work is a perfect activity to provide the input for calming and will also help parents/caregivers out at home. Here are some wonderful examples of different types of heavy work activities to do in the home which will help with calming.
• animal backpacks
• kids fanny pack
• stacking or moving chairs/books
• watering can/hose
• baby’s diaper bag
• ANYTHING with weight to it
• Wearing a weighted vest, weighted hat , or weighted shorts.
• Wearing wrist or ankle weights
• Using a weighted lap pad or weighted blanket
• Swimming with or without swim weights
Pushing or pulling objects and activities:
• toy shopping cart with weight in it
• laundry basket with weight in it
• kids wagon with weight in it
• tug of war rope
• rainbow putty press (flatten putty on wall or desk/table)
• mop/sweep floor with a mop, broom and dustpan for kids
• shoveling snow with a kids snow shovel
• raking leaves, dirt etc. using a kids wheelbarrow and garden tools: rake, spade, shovel and broom
• pushing/pulling self or others on a jumbo scooter board
• “push of war” between partners (with ball, have to cross over line)
• riding bicycles / scooters