"Ouch! He stepped on my finger!"
"She keeps brushing my shoulder!"
Do these sound familiar?
We see these happening in the classroom, and you may have noticed it with your kids too.
It could be that your child has yet to master managing their body movements. While it is completely natural for a young child to need to move around, it is equally important for them to learn to move mindfully and appropriately in different settings.
They are free to swing and run around at the playground or during sports sessions. However, during mealtimes or in class, they need to build up the ability to sit properly and focus on what they are doing.
One of the crucial executive function skills we teach children at TLE is to develop their Impulse Control.
This is the ability to manage or control the sudden strong urge or desire to act. Some examples of impulses could be blurting out what they want to say at inappropriate times, emotional outbursts, or "itchy fingers" where they reach out to touch everything even though they are not supposed to.
In today's post, we will be sharing 3 simple strategies to manage the physical impulses that they may be struggling with. These are the same strategies we teach at TLE which you can reinforce in the home setting:
State rules and boundaries clearly with no room for misinterpretation
We should not assume that children know exactly what our expectations are. We need to be clear on what is acceptable or unacceptable physical contact, and explain it in terms our children can understand.
For example, fist bumps and shoulder hugs are alright, but rough jostling which may escalate to full on physical wrestling is not ok. Sometimes we may need to role play and demonstrate the actions to our students here at TLE.
2. Provide outlets to release their energy
Some children may have a lot of pent-up energy from being in school the entire day and it may result in the energy being released in unintentional ways. Try to provide them with outdoor play or sports. If that is not an option for weekday evenings, you can play a simple game of "Simon Says". We play this at TLE and the kids love it!
You can be creative and incorporate household chores such as "Simon Says, put all the toys in the basket!" or "Simon Says, run 3 rounds around the couch!"
3. Teach Perspective Taking
Many a times, children may not be aware of how their body actions may affect others. Discuss with them how different people may react to certain bodily movements, and encourage them to express how they would feel if they were bumped in a vigorous way. You may need to demonstrate to them what it feels like to be accidentally bumped all the time.
We hope these simple strategies will help them to be more aware of their impulses and body movements. In the next post, we will discuss some measures we can adopt if incidents occur.