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Calming sensory activity for bedtime

We have a quick bedtime ritual that helps relax the kids. The purpose of this is to help them feel good through emotional attachment, physical touch and sensory input. We call it all sorts of things, but right now the name of choice is “slippery seal.”

I put lotion on my hands (currently using lavender baby lotion) and then gently hold on to a limb. As i apply very soft pressure, the kids pull away from me. The pressure of my hand combined with the flexion of their muscles creates a blissful sensory input for active kids. This is not intended to be rough play, but rather gentle and calming so the kids wind down before bed. I do each arm, hand, leg and foot, then switch over to a back rub if they’re up for it. We only captured the arms tonight as Jack chose to wear his underwear on his head instead of his bottom (sparing you all the peep shot)!

When Oliver was born, I was lucky enough to take an infant massage class at our local hospital. The dynamics of bath time and bedtime have changed a lot since then, but the boys still really like (and need) the massage. Luckily, we’ve found ways to grow and evolve the process so they continue to enjoy it and benefit from it.

I recently learned at a parenting group that kids from adoption and kids with sensory processing disorder really benefit from this particular activity. Probably why we got lucky and it stuck in our house!

What calming rituals do you have in your home? I feel like I am constantly searching for tools to help boys settle down when needed.

All the best,

Mary

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