Calm Down Strategies for School | The OT Toolbox

Calm Down Strategies for School

A child is over responding to sensory input from the classroom environment.  The fluorescent lights are too bright, the janitor is rolling his cart down the hallway, a new pair of socks are too tight, and a fly is buzzing near a window.  The combined sensations are too much. 


The classroom is an environment that is a place where over-responsiveness can easily interfere with learning, self-confidence, or social emotional development. 

Having a toolbox of sensory strategies to address over-responsiveness can be invaluable in the classroom.  


Use these sensory calm down strategies for school to help kids with self-regulation and over responsiveness in the classroom.








Calm Down Strategies for School

Below are sensory strategies for school that can be used with children who over-respond to sensory input, have difficulties with anxiety, or struggle with attention or executive functioning difficulties.

Get a printable version of this list HERE.

A child who needs self-regulation strategies to better learn or function in the classroom can benefit from one or more of these strategies.  Every child is different and each will respond in different ways. Not all of these sensory strategies will help every child.  Consider underlying issues and consult a school-based occupational therapist for assessment and interventions.

Related Read: Try these free classroom fidget tools and sensory strategies for the classroom.


Use these sensory calm down strategies for school to help kids with self-regulation and over responsiveness in the classroom.

Sensory Strategies to help children calm down at school:

Use a predictive schedule
Limit close seating 
Minimize auditory stimulation (Utilize earbuds, sound-minimizing headphones, white noise, whisper phones)
Increase space between children
Movement breaks
Sensory seating
Provide a calm down zone
Weighted lap blanket
Try tactile tools at the desk
Decrease visual distractions (trifold, work standing at an easel, single color bulletin boards)
Use a visual schedule for transitions
Provide a warning before fire drills or bus evacuation drills
Plan an accomodate for school-wide assemblies
Provide a calm down portion of the day build into the schedule with deep breathing and soft music
Yoga breaks
Stretches before desk work or tests
Add wall push-ups or chair push-ups into the daily schedule
Water bottles with a straw at each desk (ask parents to send in sports bottles)
Allow gum during tests or quiet work time
Quiet fidget toys
Movement learning with the whole classroom




Here are more classroom sensory strategies that may help.


Use these sensory calm down strategies for school to help kids with self-regulation and over responsiveness in the classroom.

Need more information on sensory processing, grab the Sensory Processing Disorder Handbook


Use these sensory calm down strategies for school to help kids with self-regulation and over responsiveness in the classroom.





When saying "calm down" just isn't enough...

When a child is easily "triggered" and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement...

When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies...

When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown...

When you're struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow...

A one-stop shop of sensory resources and tools is the way to go. The Super Sensory Bundleis back but only for a few more days. It's got games, activites, tools, and resources for therapists, teachers, parents, and anyone working with kids. 

In the bundle, you'll find 40+ sensory products created by experienced therapists and professionals and 450+ printable bonus resource sheets. These can all be downloaded and used over and over again as part of your therapy toolbox when addressing fine motor skills, executive functioning, sensory processing needs, self-regulation and emotional regulation, gross motor skills, and more. Get the Super Sensory Bundle while it's still available.