At Kahlon Family Services, we have School Shadowing services, where a Behavior Specialist will go to school with a child who has special needs and help them learn to their very best potential. One of the most important elements of shadowing a child, is allowing them breaks during the day to get their mind and body back in the game. Through experience, we have developed a thorough system that works best for kids – giving them a good break, and getting them back into the classroom – fast!
The best part about a good body break, is that all children can benefit, not just those with special needs. It is for this reason that we like to write down some suggestions on index cards and set them up in the classroom, for all kids to use, at any time during the day.
(1) Get Your Body Moving
Walk, run, skip, lunge or march! For a twist, try bear walking (like downward dog pose, walking on hands and feet) or crab walking (face up, walking on hands and feet). Kids with high levels of energy and low levels of attention need to move, in order to be contributing members of a classroom community. If you have a child (or student) constantly milling around the room, impulsively calling out or being generally disruptive – allow them some scheduled time to move!
(2)Get Your Heart Rate Up
Jumping jacks, push ups, jogging on the spot, cross-crawls, hula hooping, jump rope – can you think of more ways? Try and wear these kids out! Seems like mission impossible – but become their drill sergeant and see how much more focused they can be when they’ve burned off some significant steam.
(3) Work Your Core
Sit ups, crunches, scissor kicks, planking, “Superman” (laying face down on the floor, then lifting head, arms and legs for 10 seconds x 3 repetitions) – or any core-engaging yoga pose. Core strength is so important for kids, their attention spans, the ability to sit for longer periods of time and developing their play skills.
(4) Calm Your Body
Before re-entering a classroom, or a situation where they are expected to be calm, the child needs to calm their body. We need to send them back in already set up for success! (This is why simply giving them time to run around and return to the room isn’t enough for a lot of high-energy kids – they’ll just return more hyped up). Try one minute of deep breathing, with models like “Lazy 8’s” (by Zones of Regulation), bubble breaths (raise your arms like a big, round bubble on the inhale, exhale by lowering your arms slowly) or simply ask them to lay on the floor and focus on breathing.