Distraction is a great way to help your child in a stressful situation. You have most likely used this and not even realized it. How about when your child wants a toy and you zoom them past the toy department without allowing them to see it or perhaps you went to another aisle to substitute a book for that toy. Congratulations! You are half way there.
When you use this method with your child, keep your child in mind. They are feeling stressed about a situation and could be on the verge of a meltdown. Remember to treat the situation with care and concern. Remember to be positive. You are teaching your child how to cope.
Fidget Toys: Touching a fidget toy can release the stress that is being felt. Concentrate on the fidget. Make sure that they are looking and holding onto the item. Key Chain stuffed dolls are great!
Stress Balls: You are using touch to distract. Use the ball for anger or frustration and release the pain to the ball.
Bubbles: You are using controlled breathing. Use their energy to blow the pain. Pinwheels work in the same manner. Use outside!
Magic Wand : Use this to point and tell about shapes, colors or anything else.
DS/ Leap Frog: These games allow the child to be taken out of their environment and placed into a safe zone. Educational games of course!
For every 20 minutes they play break for 20 seconds (look away from the screen)
Environment: Talking to your child about finding something in the store, helping you or what is going to happen when you get to where you are going is very helpful. Have your child find things that are a certain color or shape. Talk about the surrounding (trees, cars, animals..)
Puppets: Can be used to role play. It helps with sharing emotions, expressing emotions, interaction and offers support through reassurance.
Blanket: Can be used to comfort sensory issues. Keep it with you at all times. Place it into a book bag and take with you.
Speaking : Singing and dancing allows your child to express himself, time to listen and hear, offers reassurance and interaction.
Breathing Exercises: Controlled breathing is a relaxing way to concentrate and gives the child empowerment.
Counting : Breath in through your nose 1,2,3 and breath out through your mouth.
Muscle Relaxation: Relax and focus on muscles – relaxing, empowers the child, planned movements are relaxing.
Imagine: Prompts of scenic photos to put your mind in another place giving safe and happy thoughts.
Praise : Makes the child feel proud, gives them a sence of achievement. Can be done with stickers, certificates, prizes or verbally.