Using the Five Senses to Manage Hyperactivity

Several factors can even influence children’s attention daily. Even the slightest distraction can cause students to not pay attention during class time, stop listening to directions, and prevent them from completing an assignment. Most often, children do not know how to manage these feelings so it can appear that children are acting out and behaving badly but really they may just be anxious, moody, easily overwhelmed, or even have a condition such as ADHD or ADD. Creating an environment that can welcome these emotions and teaches children how to manage these feelings will help them achieve future success. Here is how you can decrease hyperactivity within your classroom using strategies for each of the five senses.

Taste

One big factor that has been known to decrease hyperactivity is monitoring and changing the student’s diet. Having a diet full of sugars and processed foods will lead to the child being more active. These foods should try to be replaced with more foods high in protein such as eggs, beans, and nuts, complex carbs such as fruits and vegetables, and omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, avocados, and nuts.

While these strategies may not exactly involve tasting directly, there are some practices you can do that involve the mouth, such as chewing fidgets and deep breathing. Chewable pencil toppers help students who are not old enough to chew gum and allows them to chew and do their work.  This fidget fits perfectly over a standard pencil and is almost invisible. Deep breathing exercises allow the body to become aware of the present and focus on it. For young students, it is easy to teach belly breathing through this Sesame Street video. Students can also lie on the floor and place a stuffed animal on their bellies. This allows them to see the animal rise and fall as their belly moves when they breathe.

Touch

Strategies for the sense of touch can include providing items such as handheld fidgets and weighted materials. Believe it or not, these items are not limited to weighted blankets and fidget spinners. Weighted medicine balls are perfect for circle time when students need it. A weighted medicine ball in a student’s lap will provide the feeling of being grounded in their place. Handheld fidgets such as fidget spinners and Rubik’s cubes allow students to heighten their sense of touch as well as get back in touch with the here and now. Some teachers even provide fuzzy fidgets as an option for students who may have high anxiety. The fuzzy fidget allows them to stroke the fur of the fidget as if they were petting an animal.

Smell

Aromatherapy is the perfect way to reduce stress, lighten moods, relax, and boost motivation. Scented plug-ins and diffusers with scents such as lemon, lime, lavender, spearmint, peppermint, orange, and cinnamon all provide calming aromas. Epsom salts in a zip lock bag can also give off the same scent-sational results.

Sight

Decrease hyperactivity with calm down jars and kaleidoscopes. Kaleidoscopes provide an array of colors and are incredibly pretty to look at. Ask students what colors they find to be calming or ones that they may want to look at. Calm down jars or kaleidoscopes that are in a color they find soothing.

Sound

A good technique to reduce stress and calm down is to listen to instrumental music. Some artists even produce instrumental music intended for relaxing. Encouraging students to practice their belly breathing while listening to instrumental music is the perfect recipe for mindfulness.