Tricks to Help with Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers

This post shares movement based activities that can help kids who are experiencing separation anxiety in preschool drop off, with ideas based on the children’s book, Owl Babies.


Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.

It happens every week.  


We walk into Sunday School and my Toddler turns from a smiling little girl in a fluffy church dress into crying, runny nosed little sweetie that just needs a giant hug.


Two minutes later, she is happy, playing with play dough, and dry of all nose drips.


We are at the point where the tears are just part of the routine.


My little one is on the young side for getting over the separation anxiety, but as a momma of four, I’ve seen plenty of tear-filled drop-offs.  


And it never stops breaking my heart.


Today, I’m sharing a simple trick for helping kids with separation anxiety at preschool or other drop-off situations like our weekly church nursery adventure.


Separation Anxiety Tip for Preschoolers



This post contains affiliate links.




We read the book, Owl Babies as part of the Virtual Book Club for Kids series and fell in love.  The sweet little Owl Babies in the book wake up from a nap to find their mother gone from the nest.  The owl siblings go through a series of concerns and thoughts about where their mom might be with a little almost-tears.  My older kids thought the book was pretty awesome and decided that each of the owl babies in the book were one of the girls in our family.  There were a few similar personality traits that aligned with the owls in the book and the sisters in our house.  


The idea of knowing that mom comes back when she leaves is a lesson we’re going through at Sunday School each week and one that happens so often with kids.  Just like the Owl Babies, it can be hard to stay calm and not worry when mom goes away.  


We decided to come up with an owl themed movement activity that kids could do when they are feeling anxious after leaving mom or dad.  This activity would be perfect for preschool kids who are experiencing separation anxiety at the start of school or in a new classroom situation.

To do the activity, first read Owl Babies together.  Then, talk about how the owls in the book must feel when they see their mother has gone out of the nest. Finally, talk about how when the mom or dad in your family has to go away for a little while, they always come back and that they are thinking of the little one in your home while they are gone.


Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.



One easy way to help with separation anxiety is to come up with a hand signal.  We decided that making a bird wing sign would be a lot like an owl in flight.  Hook your thumbs together and spread your fingers out to create the wings of an owl.


Then, wrap both hands around your thumbs to create a little owl baby of your own.  Now, squeeze your hands tight to give them a hug.  Your child can do this motion when the are feeling sad or nervous at school.  Tell them to think about the owl babies in the book and how they felt when their mom came back.

Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.

Squeezing the hands tightly can provide a bit of proprioceptive input that is calming in a stressful situation like the preschool drop-off.  A simple hand hug might be just the thing that can help!


Then, when you pick up your little baby, be sure to swoop them up in a big hug!


This activity would work with preschoolers who are a little older than my two year old.  She really enjoyed the book, Owl Babies, though and we have read it again and again!


Let me know how this tip to help with separation anxiety works with your preschooler!


Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.



Looking for more activities based on the book Owl Babies?  Try these:


OWL THEMED LITERACY ACTIVITIES

Alphabet Roll and Colour from Sea of Knowledge

OWL THEMED MATH ACTIVITIES

Owl Babies Counting Activity from Clare’s Little Tots
Owl’s Day Ordering Activity from My Storytime Corner
Owl Counting Playdough Mats from Preschool Powol Packets
Owl Babies Shape Activity for Preschoolers – You Are Here

Shape Activity from Rainy Day Mum

OWL THEMED SCIENCE ACTIVITIES

Owl Eye Sight STEM Activity from J Daniel4’s Mom
Build a Nest STEM Activity from Views From a Step Stool

OWL THEMED GROSS AND FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES

Owl Puppets from Powerful Mothering

Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.

Pre-Writing Lines Fine Motor Activity

Creative ways to practice handwriting can be the trick for helping kids write with better legibility.  But what if you are starting at the very beginning?  Preschool kids who are working on pre-writing lines can use creative techniques, too!  


Copying the strait lines, crosses, and circles over and over again can become a little boring for preschoolers.  Try this creative way to practice pre-writing lines while working on fine motor skills with preschoolers.



Try this pre-writing lines fine motor activity with preschoolers.

Pre-Writing Lines Activity 


This post contains affiliate links.

You’ll need just three items for this activity:
Pencil
Pre-writing lines are an important step for preschool-aged kids and for developing a basis for proper letter formation.  Establishing pre-writing lines allow kids to strengthen hand muscles, promote pencil strokes needed for letters, and improve pencil control.  

This pre-writing lines fine motor activity can help kids improve hand strength while promoting a tripod grasp.  I pulled out our stash of pencil eraser toppers and a handful of pony beads


Try this pre-writing lines fine motor activity with preschoolers.

Kids can start the activity by pushing the pony beads into the eraser toppers. This is a strengthening activity in itself, allowing children to strengthen their intrinsic muscles which help with arch development.  This is important for proper pencil grasp and for smaller controlled pencil motions when writing letters. 

You will need to add the pony beads to the erasers to provide a stable eraser when pinching.  Without the pony beads, kids will pinch the eraser too much and it will squash closed.

Next, with a pencil, draw pre-writing strokes on a piece of paper.  For younger children, you can form the lines more lightly.  For older kids, or those who need to address strengthening issues, draw the lines a little darker. 

What are pre-writing lines?


Pre-writing forms include:
Horizontal line
Vertical line
Circle
Cross
Square
Diagonal Lines
“X” Shape
Triangle

Use a marker to draw a starting dot and ending dot.  Form the pencil line between the dots.  The dots provide a starting and ending point for the child to trace the pencil line.  


Try this pre-writing lines fine motor activity with preschoolers.

While the child is erasing the pre-writing lines, be sure to provide verbal and visual cues to ensure proper direction formation.

Try this pre-writing lines fine motor activity with preschoolers.

Looking for more ways to address handwriting needs? Try these:

Try this pre-writing lines fine motor activity with preschoolers.
31 Days of ABC - October 2016 | Alldonemonkey.com 

31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Creating a Preschool Letter of the Week Curriculum

A – October 2

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Apple Scented Glitter Glue and Apple Craft

B – October 3

Witty Hoots: How to Make Fabulous Button Bookmarks

C – October 4

Preschool Powol Packets: Construction Truck Preschool Action Rhyme

D – October 5

ArtsyCraftsyMom: Printable Dinosaur Alphabet Sequencing Puzzle

E – October 6

Preschool Powol Packets: Elephant Art Project and Thailand Lesson

F – October 7

Spanglish Monkey: Spanish-English ABC Flashcards

G – October 8

Royal Baloo: Simple Ghost Painting Project

H – October 9

Peakle Pie: Hide and Seek

I – October 10

Look! We’re Learning!: Insect Activities for Kids

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: Olmec Jaguar Craft

K – October 12

Preschool Powol Packets: I Am a Kite Action Rhyme for Preschool

L – October 13

Raising a Trilingual Child: Letter Learning with a Mult0ilingual Twist

M – October 14

Creative World of Varya

N – October 15

Peakle Pie: Narwhal Fingerprint Pictures

O – October 16

For the Love of Spanish: O es de Oso

P – October 17

Little Hiccups: P is for Places, A Travel ABC Book

Q – October 18

All Done Monkey: Bilingual Letter Craft – Q is for ¿Qué? Q is for Question

R – October 19

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

S – October 20

Crafty Mama in ME: Patterned Paper Plate Snake

T – October 21

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Puerto Rican Flamboyant Tree

U – October 22

Witty Hoots: How to Make Awesome Unicorn Headbands

V – October 23

Creative World of Varya

W – October 24

Scribble Doodle and Draw: Winter Letter Craft

X – October 25

All Done Monkey: Coding for Kids – X Marks the Spot

Y – October 26

Our Daily Craft: Yarn Craft Basket and Books for Kids

Z – October 27

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Learning Spanish at the Zoo

123’s – October 28

Hispanic Mama: Fun Activities and Resources to Teach Numbers in Spanish

Prewriting – October 29

Sugar Aunts

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

The Jenny Evolution

Alphabet Clip Cards – October 31

The Kindergarten Connection

Try this pre-writing lines fine motor activity with preschoolers.

Get 29 pages of modified paper with a Christmas Theme for legible and neat Letters to Santa, Christmas Wish Lists, Thank You Notes, Holiday Lists, and MORE! 

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Key Chain Fidget Toys

Fidget tools are a fantastic way to help kids focus and pay attention when their bodies crave sensory input.  A child who is moving their hands or fingers with a fidget toy may be able to attend to a task more easily.  These key chain fidget toys are tools for sensory needs.  Key chains can be attached to a coat zipper to help kids stand in line while waiting for the bus.  They can be attached to the shoe laces to help a child sit criss-cross-apple sauce style during circle time.  Key chain fidgets can be held in the hands while writing in a discrete way at the desk.


Key Chain Fidget Toys to help kids get the sensory input they need in the classroom or at home.
 

Keychain Fidget Toys 

Fidgeting during work stimulates the brain, allowing a child to complete school work.  Fidgeting is mindless play or touching fingers, pencils, hands…anything that allows a person to focus on the task at hand.  Kids that are fidgeting are seeking calm, and focus so that their brain can complete a task.  The problem is when the brain’s urge to fidget distracts a child from school tasks.  They might be so wiggly and moving that they just can not sit still and focus in a functional manner.  Fidgeting can be managed with less distracting techniques which can allow the child to accomplish the homework, and move on to other things. 

Using keychain fidgets are just one idea to try.  Make your own DIY fidget toy with any of these ideas.

 

Key chain Fidgets for Meeting Sensory Needs:

Affiliate links are included in this post.

The bean fidget keychain that you see in the image above is such a fun way to allow kids to work their fingers using a keychain. There is a pack of 5 available on Amazon. 

A light up key chain can provide a multi-sensory fidget toy. This squeezable bear keychain can be clipped to a belt loop or backpack.

Stretchy coil keychains provide a fidget toy for one or both hands.

Other key chains can provide a fidget toy that interests the child like a Pokemon key chain.

Try the duck key chain with a light up feature.

Squeezing the bubble wrap buttons on this bubble wrap keychain is a great way to allow kids to work on thumb IP joint flexion or finger isolation.

They make a great sensory tool that blends in for those children who feel worries or needs to self-regulate by moving their hands.

Squishy keychains offer a chance for fingers to pinch, stretch, and pull.

 A picture key chain can be a beneficial tool for children who are calmed by a picture of a loved one. Try adding other images such as words of affirmation, coping strategies, or visual prompts in the picture space too. This might be a good place to put self-affirmation notes or a hand-drawn heart from Mom or Dad, too.

 Some children benefit from heavy work.

 A pewter key  chain is a heavier tool for kids to hold and manipulate while offering a bit of weight to the hands. This might be just the fidget that is needed for kids with sensory needs.

 A fuzzy key chain is a different texture that can help with calming or focus.

 Kids will love to create their own fidget toy!

 Use this bead craft kit to work on fine motor skills like tripod grasp, in-hand manipulation, motoric separation of the hand, and bilateral coordination when creating the key chain. Following the instructions may be a challenge for some kids, but with visual or verbal cues, children may be able to create their own fidget toy that they will be proud to hold and attach to zippers, shoes, or backpacks.

There are so many reasons to use a keychain as a fidget tool.

  • Squeezing small toys will add proprioceptive input to the hand and fingers.
  • A pinch between the thumb and index fingers/middle finger can be a great warm up before writing tasks.
  • The small size makes it easy to tuck into the hand as a coping tool for on-the-go or while out and about in the community. 
  • Kids who struggle with bus rides or transition periods at the beginning or end of the school day can use keychain fidget tools on a belt loop, jacket zipper, or backpack. 
  • Sometimes a child will benefit from a small fidget tool attached to the laces of a shoe. They can then cross their leg at the knee which provides proprioceptive input. The positioning of the keychain on the shoe can be a great way to cope while in a classroom or waiting area. 
  • Keychain fidget tools fit right in the hand and can be less apt to distract other students. 

 

Need more information on fidget tools?

Try these ideas:

Fidgeting During Homework

Desk Top Fidget Tool

Key Chain Fidget Toys to help kids get the sensory input they need in the classroom or at home.

 

Games to Help Kids Improve Executive Functioning Skills

Executive function is a set of cognitive skills that allows us to perform tasks. Use this list of games and toys to help kids build and establish executive functioning skills in the home, school, or community. These are great games to use in therapy to boost executive function for improved independence, safety, and task completion.

These games are fun ways to help kids improve executive function skills.

What is Executive Functioning?



There is much that can be read about executive function.  Essentially, executive functioning skills include the ability to perform a series of skills during functional tasks.  These include attention, impulse control, emotional control, flexible thinking, working memory, self-monitoring, planning and prioritizing, task initiation, and organization.  Looking at this skills set, executive function skills are essential for independence in most tasks.  


For the younger child, executive function abilities present themselves when they perform a multi-step task such as completing the parts of a morning routine.  Parental involvement and the prompting that comes with young kids are more involved.  When a child is able to perform a multi-step process with more independence, they may be able to prepare their cereal, clean up the dishes, brush their teeth, get dressed, gather items needed for the day, and leave the house even when a shoe is hidden under a table, the toothpaste spills, and the dishwasher is too full to add another bowl.


Executive functioning is initiating a task, adjusting to problems, negotiating obstacles, while organizing and prioritizing all of the steps and details.


Children can strengthen executive functioning skills in fun and creative ways.


RELATED READ: Sometimes executive function skills are to blame for sloppy handwriting.

Try these toys and tools to help kids improve executive function skills:

Affiliate links are included.

 

 Executive function memory cards game for kids

 

These Executive Function Memory Cards can help boost working memory and other executive function skills.  Four card games are included.
 
 Executive function game for helping kids deal with distractions
 
Distraction is a game that can help boost working memory and recall with fun questions. This game would be perfect for family game night!
 
 Visual Brainstorms game is great for improving executive functioning skills
 
Visual Brainstorms Game can help kids address executive functioning abilities by addressing problem solving, prioritizing, reasoning, logic, and abstract thinking.
 
 Executive function game for helping kids with self control
 
Learning Self-Control in School is a game that addresses planning, attention, and consequences to behaviors. 
 Consequences game
 
The game Consequences can help kids learn that their actions have consequences! It’s a good game for younger kids.
 
 What Do I Feel emotions game for kids
 
What Do I Feel is a game that allows kids to explore emotions and address emotional control as they respond to different scenarios.
 
 Memory game to help with executive function
 
This Memory Chess Game is a fun game to address focus, working memory, and concentration.  It’s got a great fine motor component, too.
 
 Original memory game
 
The Original Memory Game is the one that has spurred a TON of varieties of matching, memory, and concentration. 
Try these games and toys to improve executive function skills

More tools for addressing attention needs in kids

There are so many strategies to address attention in kids and activities that can help address attention needs. One tactic that can be a big help is analyzing precursors to behaviors related to attention and addressing underlying needs. 

The Attention and Sensory Workbook can be a way to do just that. 

The Attention and Sensory Workbook is a free printable resource for parents, teachers, and therapists. It is a printable workbook and includes so much information on the connection between attention and sensory needs. 

Here’s what you can find in the Attention and Sensory Workbook

  • Includes information on boosting attention through the senses
  • Discusses how sensory and learning are connected
  • Provides movement and sensory motor activity ideas
  • Includes workbook pages for creating movement and sensory strategies to improve attention


little more about the Attention and Sensory Workbook: 


Sensory processing is the ability to register, screen, organize, and interpret information from our senses and the environment. This process allows us to filter out some unnecessary information so that we can attend to what is important. Kids with sensory challenges often time have difficulty with attention as a result.

It’s been found that there is a co-morbidity of 40-60% of ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. This workbook is an actionable guide to help teachers, therapists, and parents to help kids boost attention and focus in the classroom by mastering sensory processing needs. 

You will find information on the sensory system and how it impacts attention and learning. There are step-by-step strategies for improving focus, and sensory-based tips and tricks that will benefit the whole classroom.

The workbook provides tactics to address attention and sensory processing as a combined strategy and overall function. There are charts for activities, forms for assessment of impact, workbook pages for accommodations, and sensory strategy forms.
 
Grab the Attention and Sensory Workbook by clicking HERE or on the image below.
 
Attention and sensory workbook activities for improving attention in kids

Fine Motor Garland Crafts for Older Kids

I share a lot of crafts and activities here that are designed to help kids develop and build fine motor skills.  It’s usually the preschooler who is working on pre-writing skill work and building a base for holding a pencil or using scissors, or the early elementary aged child who writes with an awkward pencil grasp and needs to boost hand strength.  

Sometimes, though, I’ll get questions on how to help older kids develop hand strength and fine motor skills.  Children who are beyond the early grade levels and have aged out of the younger crafts and activities will love these garland crafts that are perfect for promoting fine motor sills and hand strength.

Use garlands as a craft to help older kids or teenagers build fine motor skills needed for pencil grasp and handwriting.

Garlands are a fun craft that can be used and created year round.  From parties to holidays, or any day, a garland is a nice way to boost self-confidence in a household decor item.  This makes garlands just the fine motor tool that can help older kids who are aware of their weaknesses and might be a little (or a lot!) proud to see their handiwork hanging on the stair banister.  

Try using these fine motor garland crafts with your teen or older kid!



This beaded garland is a great way to build fine motor skills.  Threading beads helps open the thumb web space, promote separation of the two sides of the hand, and work in-hand manipulation skills.


A craft that provides an opportunity for painting, cutting, and threading is a nice way to help kids establish and build fine motor skills. This Newspaper Leaf Garland does just that!


Kids can prepare for a party or celebrate the day while addressing bilateral coordination needs while making this balloon garland craft.


A wooden name garland would look great in a teen’s room or hanging on a door.  Older kids can customize and create a woodworking project as detailed as they like.


Older children find coloring just as stress relieving as adults do.  This woodland animal garland allows teens to cut, customize, and create a garland using printable shapes.  Make this craft for a friend.


Teens can benefit from threading activities just like smaller kids do.  This fall leaf garland provides an age-appropriate threading task to create a fun fall festive home decoration.


Making yarn pom poms is a fantastic way to work on bilateral coordination, motor planning, and in-hand manipulation skills.  Allow older kids to make several pom poms to create a pumpkin pom pom garland.


Tying knots is a great way to help kids strengthen their fine motor skills.  This knot garland would look great hanging in a teen’s room!


Older kids will love to head outside to grab some colorful leaves in order to create a fall leaf garland. While threading the leaves, they are addressing eye-hand coordination, tripod grasp, and bilateral coordination.


Teens can help prepare for a party or celebration by creating a garland like this new baby garland. Creating a pattern while putting the parts together allows for bilateral hand coordination.

Use garlands as a craft to help older kids or teenagers build fine motor skills needed for pencil grasp and handwriting.



Do you have an older child or teenager who needs to build fine motor skills? What are their favorite ways to work on these areas?

Attention, Behavior, and Meal Time Problems

In this post, you will find an explanation of attention and behavior concerns that interfere with independence in self feeding and resulting meal time problems with kids.  



Attention and behavior during meal time functional skills are a vital importance to independence with independence in self-feeding.  The child with cognitive impairments or unsatisfied sensory needs can impact attention and focus leading to safety concerns, decreased independence, or limited coordination and functional ability to self-feed.  Behaviors can result in intentional or unintentional feeding difficulties. 

Attention and behavior and meal time problems, use these tricks to help kids with independence during meals.

The child who is limited in sustained attention or the child who is distracted by sensory needs or interference may be overwhelmingly unable to attend to feeding tasks. Likewise, children with behavioral tendencies may be seeing a satisfaction of other needs that therefore interferes with independence in self-feeding. 

Use these tips from an Occupational Therapist to help kids with attention, behavior, and meal time problems.

When attention of behaviors are impaired, there are many resulting problems that interfere with safety and independence during meals:

  • Impulsivity
  • Decreased concentration
  • Impaired memory
  • Poor judgement
  • Impaired direction following
  • Decreased initiation
  • Poor self-monitoring
  • Perseveration
  • Disorientation
  • Impaired problem solving
  • Slow or inefficient processing
  • Confusion



When a child presents with these problem areas, they have an impact on meal time.  Development of self-feeding is often times delayed and parents seek answers to help their child feed them selves independently.  The peaceful meal time is a sought after experience given that meal times are a time for conversation, reflection, and satisfaction.  When behaviors or attention limit a child’s ability to self- feed, the meal time can then become focused on safety or become a stressful situation.


Other times, meals are a quick operation that needs to be completed in a timely manner in order to allow families to move on to the day’s activities.  In these situations, meals need to be efficient and energizing. 


In both scenarios, a child with meal time problems secondary to attention and behavior can effect the family dynamic.  

Use these tips from an Occupational Therapist to help kids with attention, behavior, and meal time problems.

Consider the areas of meal time that are dependent on appropriate attention and behavior:

  • Tool use to hold utensils effectively or appropriately
  • Eye-hand coordination to scoop, poke, and cut food
  • Eye-hand coordination to bring utensils to the mouth without getting distracted 
  • Bilateral coordination to hold and use a knife and fork at the same time
  • Lip closure to maintain mouth closure on a straw while sucking and while chewing
  • Swallow control to initiate food propulsion
  • Rhythm of swallow and breath
  • Rate of eating/drinking
  • Ability to keep food in the mouth
  • Ability to tongue sweep to clear the mouth between bites
  • Visual attention (may be a concern for clients with a strong preference to one side)
  • Sensory needs that interfere with seating, including wiggling or fidgeting during meals
  • Food refusal
  • Playing in food, moving food around on plate, hiding food, throwing food
  • Eating only certain foods
  • Standing up to eat
  • Dropping utensils/spilling food or drink
  • Fidgeting and wiggling at the table
  • Talking with mouth full of food





Each of the above problem areas are concerns that may be a result of attention and behavioral issues. these patterns assume a typical oral motor and pharyngeal motor development.


The sensory variances related to attention provide distractors that interfere with attention and behavior during meal time.  In many of the examples listed above, the sensory needs or preferences of the child may impact meal time attention and behavior.  Strategies to address sensory-based attention and behavior concerns should address the child’s sensory needs prior to and during meal time.

Use these tips from an Occupational Therapist to help kids with attention, behavior, and meal time problems.

 

There are suggested interventions that can help children with attention and behavior problems during meal time:

  • Orientation to time/place/person
  • Structured environment (such as a quiet room)
  • Redirection to the task
  • Allow for extra time during meals
  • Provide visual, verbal, and physical cues: These might include modeling, gestures, imitation, and cue cards.
  • Elimination of distractions
  • Limited number of choices
  • Offer one food at a time
  • Use simple and concise language
  • Consider meal times and medication times
  • Provide respect for food preferences
  • Bright colors or high visual contrast for place settings
  • Shiny utensils/dull colored utensils
  • Provide the biggest meal at various times- Typically dinner is the largest meal of the day in the US. Try providing more at breakfast or lunch and a smaller meal for dinner.
  • Clearly established mealtime rules and expectations
  • Expect that food will spill, messes will happen, and kids will not always be hungry. 
  • Request school lunches have accommodations added to the IEP if needed.
Use these tips from an Occupational Therapist to help kids with attention, behavior, and meal time problems.
 

Sometimes a simple visual or physical cue can help with strategies intended to help kids hold the spoon or fork correctly.  These are a few different visual and physical cues that can help kids boost attention while eating.  There are many adapted utensils out there (Read more on Your Kids OT’s post today) that can help with attention during meals.  Try these DIY versions:

Use these tips from an Occupational Therapist to help kids with attention, behavior, and meal time problems.


Help Kids Hold a Spoon, Fork, or Knife with a Visual or Physical Cue:

For these ideas, I added a few different prompts right onto the spoons: a sticker, a pipe cleaner wrapped around the spoon, a bit of modelling clay, or a couple of rubber bands are inexpensive ways to bring the child’s attention to help with just one concern that attention may impact during self-feeding.


It is important to remember that this list of suggested strategies does not include all interventions that may help kids with attention and behavior problems and resulting difficulties during meal times.  Knowing that every child is drastically different with temperament, environment, likes/dislikes, sensory needs, cognitive level, and motor skill, there are myriad interventions that can work to address needs.  What works for one child may not work for another. The trick with attention and behavior needs to to try one strategy and then another, sometimes in combination, to meet the needs of the child.  Consult an Occupational Therapist for best intervention strategies and plan of action for your child.



 
Fine Motor Skills For Mealtimes  | Therapy Fun Zone
 
 
 
 
 
15 Tips for Picky Eaters | The Inspired Treehouse

 

Use these tips from an Occupational Therapist to help kids with attention, behavior, and meal time problems.

 

More tools for addressing attention needs in kids

There are so many strategies to address attention in kids and activities that can help address attention needs. One tactic that can be a big help is analyzing precursors to behaviors related to attention and addressing underlying needs. 

The Attention and Sensory Workbook can be a way to do just that. 

The Attention and Sensory Workbook is a free printable resource for parents, teachers, and therapists. It is a printable workbook and includes so much information on the connection between attention and sensory needs. 

Here’s what you can find in the Attention and Sensory Workbook

  • Includes information on boosting attention through the senses
  • Discusses how sensory and learning are connected
  • Provides movement and sensory motor activity ideas
  • Includes workbook pages for creating movement and sensory strategies to improve attention


little more about the Attention and Sensory Workbook: 


Sensory processing is the ability to register, screen, organize, and interpret information from our senses and the environment. This process allows us to filter out some unnecessary information so that we can attend to what is important. Kids with sensory challenges often time have difficulty with attention as a result.

It’s been found that there is a co-morbidity of 40-60% of ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. This workbook is an actionable guide to help teachers, therapists, and parents to help kids boost attention and focus in the classroom by mastering sensory processing needs. 

You will find information on the sensory system and how it impacts attention and learning. There are step-by-step strategies for improving focus, and sensory-based tips and tricks that will benefit the whole classroom.

The workbook provides tactics to address attention and sensory processing as a combined strategy and overall function. There are charts for activities, forms for assessment of impact, workbook pages for accommodations, and sensory strategy forms.
 
Grab the Attention and Sensory Workbook by clicking HERE or on the image below.
 
Attention and sensory workbook activities for improving attention in kids

Bedtime Relaxation Stretches for Kids

In this post, you will find calming bedtime relaxation stretches for kids and families, based on the popular children’s book, Time for Bed. These activities are perfect for helping kids calm down before bed. 




Kids will love these bedtime relaxation stretches

Four kids can get a little wound up before bed.  All it takes is one rouge energy burst and you’ve got giggling kids bouncing from every surface imaginable.  


Couch cushions? check. They are jumping up and down.  


Running from room to room? Check. There’s two of them chasing one another back and forth will the occasional knee slide across the hardwoods.  


Practicing the living room tumbling skills? Yep and check. There’s one more doing somersaults across the room.


Why must they gang up on me with their endless energy during those exhausting pre-bedtime hours?

Secret Trick to get Kids to Calm Down Before Bed

Today, I’m sharing a great way to calm down the somersaults and hardwood floor stunts into relaxing bedtime.  One way that helps to get kids relaxed before bed is reading a great book.  When kids can listen to an engaging story that is read aloud, their bodies can’t help but slow down.  


When books become part of a nightly bedtime routine, it is easier to get kids to realize that bedtime is coming.  


One great trick for helping with the transition from living room stunts to snugly blanket stories before bed are some relaxation stretches.


These bedtime relaxation stretches are a combination of relaxing yoga moves and heavy work that helps to ground the body through proprioceptive input to the body’s sensory receptors in the muscles. 


Performing these relaxing stretches can help transition kids to a calmed state that allows for a better sleep.


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Bedtime Relaxation Stretches for Kids



We decided to use one of our favorite going to bed books, Mem Fox’s Time for Bed


In the book, we hear a rhyming verse about each animal’s transition to sleep.  It’s such a beautiful book to snuggle up with kids during night time routines.  In fact, Time for Bed can easily become one of those books that you read over and over again.


We loved looking at the watercolor pictures in Time for Bed and picturing each animal as it got ready for sleep.  


To go along with the book, we tried some of these bedtime relaxation stretches. 


Grab your copy of the free printable here.

try these bedtime relaxation stretches for kids based on the book, Time for Bed.

To do these exercises, simply cut out the printable on the lines, and create a small stack of stretches.  Kids can do one or more of these relaxation stretches to calm down before settling in with the Time for Bed book.


Simply pull out a couple of the stretches and join your child on the floor to perform each stretch.  The stretches are designed based on the animals in the book.  


When doing the stretches, hold the stretch for 2-3 minutes while maintaining deep breathing.  

Bedtime relaxation stretches for kids can help with making bedtime easier.



As we all know, kids will be kids.  If your child is getting too wound up from the stretches (because sometimes the sleepy sillies take over and make concentrating on stretches and relaxing deep breaths nearly impossible!) simply put the stretches away and try them another day.

Try these bedtime relaxation stretches for kids to help with bedtime routines.

 

Your child will love doing these bedtime relaxation stretches with you and the whole family!

Easy bedtime relaxation stretches that will help kids calm down before bed.

 

Little Goose Stretch– Lie on the floor on your back, with your feet raised up on the wall.  Keep your knees strait.  Spread your arms out on the floor like a goose.  Bend and point your toes slowly.


Little Cat Stretch– Snuggle in tight!  Sit criss cross applesauce on the floor.  Bend forward at the hips and place your head on the ground.  Stretch your arms out on the floor over your head.


Little Calf Stretch– Grasp both hands together behind your back.  Bend forward at the hips and raise your arms up behind you.


Little Foal Stretch– Lie on your back and pull your knees in with your arms.  Hold the position and whisper about your day.


Little Fish Stretch–  Take a deep breath. Hold your breath in your cheeks and puff out those cheeks.  Slowly let out your breath with pursed lips.


Little Sheep Stretch–  Stand facing a wall and place your feet shoulder width apart.  Place your hands flat on the wall, shoulder width apart.  Push against the wall by bending and straitening your elbows.


Little Bird Stretch–  Close your eyes.  Think about your day and take deep breaths.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Add a “wing” component by raising your arms up high as you breathe in and lowering them as you slowly breathe out.


Little Snake Stretch–  Lie on your back on the floor.  Keep your legs strait and cross them at the ankles.  Place your arms over your head on the floor.  Cross them at the wrists.  


Little Pup Stretch–  Get into a downward dog yoga position.  


Little Deer Stretch– Sit on the floor with your legs strait. Spread them far apart and bend at the hips to touch one foot.  Hold it and then stretch to touch the other foot. 

Bedtime relaxation stretches for kids that are easy and calming.

 

 



Try this tonight!  Do a few stretches and then snuggle up while reading Time for Bed!

These are the best bedtime books for reading to kids before bed.

MORE bedtime books that are perfect for reading before bed:



The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis
The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

You will love these Time For Bed activities from the Virtual Book club for kids team:

 

 




Try these bedtime relaxation stretches for kids.
 
 
One more thing! If you are into creative ways to extend and learn based on books, you will LOVE this resource! 50 activities based on books that address friendship, acceptance, emotions…This ebook is amazing and it is HALF off this week only!
 
 

 

 

 

Exploring Books through Play helps kids develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills while learning about empathy and compassion.

Monster at the End of This Book Grover Craft

Do you have a book that you remember reading as a child and LOVING? The Monster at the End of This Book is that one for me.  I loved this book as a kid. It is so neat to introduce my kids to books that I loved as a child and now, they are huge Monster at the End of This Book fans, too! Share this book with your kids and make your own Monster at the End of this Book Grover craft.

We love creating fun crafts and activities based on popular (and not-so-popular children’s books and this is just one more creative children’s book extension idea that you and the kids will love! 




Monster at the End of This Book children's book and Grover craft from Sesame Street

(This post contains affiliate links.) 

We decided to create a based on our lovable, furry old friend, Grover!  If you are new to this book or loved it as a kid, it’s time to request it from the library, grab it on Amazon, or pull it out of your parent’s attic and share the gem that is Sesame Street with your own kids.  Then grab some paint and make our own The Monster at the End of This Book Grover craft!

Grover Craft kids will love!


Besides the book being completely awesome, (I mean Grover tries to nail the pages together to keep the reader from reaching the end of the book!) it’s a sure giggle inducer ask kids defeat Grover’s every attempt at keeping us from meeting the monster at the end of the book

We have this book with a DVD that has Story Vision so that kids can use the remote control to “turn the pages” in an interactive manner.  The Monster at the End of This Book with Story Vision is a fun option and my kids have been enjoying watching the story play out.  But, the real-deal book is just so much fun. By the time you finish the book, your kids will be begging to read it again.

For our Grover craft, we used just a handful of materials:

Plastic fork
Glue

We used the technique we used to make the monsters in our Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft (which is another pretty fantastic monster book if you are on a monster kick!)

Monster at the End of This Book children's book and Grover craft from Sesame Street
To make the Monster at the End of This Book craft:

Dip the fork in blue paint.  Use it to make monster-y fur all over the coffee filter. Once the monster is filled in with love-able blue furry paint, add the eyes.  To make them, dip a large marshmallow into white paint. Then create the eyes by pressing the marshmallow onto the monster’s face.  Create a nose the same way by dipping a marshmallow into pink paint and pressing it onto the monster’s face. 

Monster at the End of This Book children's book and Grover craft from Sesame Street

Cut two ovals from the black paper and glue them onto the eyes.  Cut a mouth shape and glue it onto the monster’s face.  

Enjoy your furry old Grover craft and get ready to read that addictive book again!

Monster at the End of This Book children's book and Grover craft from Sesame Street

More crafts and activites based on children’s books that you will love:

 Big Red Barn puppets