When kids’ energy is operating on high, I have been showing
them how to hit the “pause button.” I also am teaching them that “hitting the pause button” is the first step in relaxation. First we pause, then we practice a relaxation skill.
Another way to use the “pause button” analogy is to equate them with relaxation skills. Kids love to practice with “pause buttons.” Every time you learn and practice a new relaxation skill, write it on a slip of construction paper and drop it in the “pause button bucket.”
That way when your child is running on “high” and wants to slow down, he can just select a “pause button” from the bucket to practice. I also use it for review options at the beginning of each meeting together. It’s a great way to keep all of your options together and a fun, playful way to push the “pause button” when needed. Any of the relaxation activities on this site could be used as a “pause button.”
A related visual would be to create a paper remote control. Create and laminate a paper remote control that is missing the pause button. Create and laminate small paper squares of “pause buttons” and place Velcro on the back of them. Use vis a vis markers to write in the pause button of choice for the child to place on the remote.
When you encounter a child who is struggling to self-regulate their energy and wants to calm down, show them the remote and say, “Oops, looks like the pause button is missing on the remote, let’s find one that works for you.” Offer the pause button bucket and have the child select a button that they feel like practicing. Secure it to the remote and begin to practice. After you practice, be sure to do a body check and have the student see how his body is feeling after the “pause button” practice.
This fun visual helps kids understand the connection between pausing and feeling good and that pausing is the first step in practicing relaxation.
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