Tips & Tricks

by Andrea Wackerle

Tips and Tricks

After summer, our schedules naturally reset to get us ready for the Fall and a new year in school. Changes in schedules and routines are often challenging for people with ADHD and or LD. It is best to think ahead and be prepared with coping strategies so we know what to do when we start to feel overwhelmed. I found these calming techniques for emotional regulation on one of my teacher/educator forums. These are suggestions that you might share with your child’s teacher at the beginning of the school year. If your child already has their “go-to” calming technique that works at home, share that information with their teacher as well!

Calming Techniques

  • Deep breathing with a pinwheel
  • Deep breathing with bubbles
  • Deep breathing with prompts
  • Deep breathing shapes
  • Deep breathing with a favorite toy
  • Deep breathing with a feather
  • Deep breathing monitoring your pulse with your hand
  • Explosion breaths
  • Hands to shoulders
  • Hoberman sphere
  • Volcano breaths and check your air
  • Focus on sounds
  • Take a mindful yoga break
  • Imagine your favorite place
  • Have a mindful snack break
  • 54321 grounding technique
  • Grounding self-talk about the present
  • Think of your favorite things
  • Picture the people you care about
  • Say the alphabet slowly/backwards
  • Remember the words to a song you love
  • Run water over your hands
  • Toss/squeeze a squishy ball
  • Touch things around you — velcro strip, porcupine pen, etc.
  • Make a fist and then release it
  • Progress muscle relaxation
  • Positive self-talk (provide visual stems examples/talk bubbles)
  • Take a drink of water
  • Counting to 5 or 10
  • Block out sounds with noise-canceling headphones
  • Watch a lava lamp or sand timer
  • Plow a miniature Zen sand garden
  • Shake a glitter/calming jar
  • Use your senses
  • Trace a pattern or therapeutic color book

Distraction Techniques

  • Write a story/poem about the issue or solving the problem
  • Crossword/Sudoku/game
  • Write about an act of kindness to you, or one you want to share
  • Creative thinking
  • Create your own problem/question for content material
  • Write about a fun event
  • Laughter (watch 30 seconds of something funny)
  • Sort something (blocks, straws, etc.)
  • Learn something new
  • Count backwards from 100
  • Repeat a mantra, “I am calm.”
  • Blow bubbles
  • Sing a song
  • Squish some putty/clay
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Rock in a rocking chair

Physical Techniques

  • Squeeze something
  • Use a stress ball
  • Shred paper
  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Use a sand tray
  • Climb steps
  • Hold and toss a small stone
  • Shuffle cards
  • Make something
  • Use a fidget
  • Walk
  • Roll a golf ball under your feet
  • Push against a wall
  • Dance or pace in marked area of the classroom
  • Punch a safe surface or air
  • Swing on a swing
  • Chant or sing
  • Stretch
  • Yoga
  • Crinkle tissue paper
  • Take a coloring break

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