I think a lot of students don’t know they struggle with self-regulation. Self-regulation is something teachers and parents need to teach students to do. I think it is a skill that students who have it mastered at at an earlier age, give them an advantage in a school setting. I thought it would be helpful to be able to recognize if a student is struggling with self-regulation and some of the strategies we can use to help them. It is interesting to see how other students perceive these “troublesome” students. During parent teacher conferences a few students has make reference about some students who disrupt their learning by acting out/blurting in class.
How to tell if a student is struggling with self-regulation
Students who are struggling with self-regulation may:
- Act overly silly or “out-of-control’
- Throw tantrums or have melt downs
- Blurts outs
- Has difficulty waiting turns or waiting in general
- Demonstrates disruptive behavior during social interactions such as talking too loud, standing in peoples bubbles, cant keep hands to themselves
- Has difficulty walking silently or waiting in line
- Moves abruptly
- Grabs or touches objects impulsively
How to Help Students develop Self-Regulation
I think anything involving games and hands on activities is a great way to incorporate self-regulation in the classroom. Games that help support students problem solve, plan, memory, attention, motor control, and sequence will help them develop the skills needed for self-regulation. Calming techniques are also a good way to create self-awareness and mindfulness in the classroom.
Games/Activities that Teach Self-Regulation
- Simon says
- Deep breathing/ other breathing techniques
- Freeze tag
- Partner obstacle course
- Musical Chairs
- Bop it
- Meditation for kids
- Calming sensory activities such as blowing bubbles, cards, cooperative games, I-Spy, and scavenger hunts
Calming Sensory Strategies for the Classroom
- A quiet place and a way for students to signal they need a break
- This could easily be put in place in the classroom, as basic as a corner with a comfortable chair, a tent, or canopy, anything that gives the student privacy. You also want the area to be fairly quiet to limit the inputs (auditory/visual) so the student can calm themselves, regroup, and then return to the class/.
- Calming Tactile Input
- Tactile sense is the way we interpret information from the the receptors on our skin. Our tactile system helps understand and differentiate pressures, textures of a certain object and helps us understand and determine what we are touching. It also helps us understand pain and temperature and how our bodies react to both.
- This could look like a sensory bin that is filled with sand, rice, dried beans. Students would then run their hands in the bins and it provides a calming sensation for them.
- Calming Oral Sensory Input
- Chewing can help students calm down by chewing something like a bagel, sum, chewy caramel, fruit leathers. Or they can try sucking in a thick smoothie, or blowing light objects across a table.
- Calming Auditory Input
- When students are acting a little wild, a great way to calm them down is to quiet things down.
- Playing calm music while students are working (raining, waves, oceans), this could help block out other auditory noises that maybe distracting to students.
- Calming Visual Input
- Too much visual stimulation may be distracting for some students
- Somethings you can so are: Use natural lighting, de-cluster the classroom, lava lamps, sensory bottles/jars, or having shape of the day posted.
- Calming Proprioceptive input
- This is where the student is move their body or body part against heavy resistance
- Stress balls, slime, chewing tough gum, pushing or moving heavy objects