So my sensory son has benefited greatly recently from a major exercise from his Occupational Therapist. It’s when we assign colors to emotions.
- Blue represents sadness, or sickness, feeling unhappy, or things that make you unhappy.
- Red represents anger, Yelling, screaming or anything that upsets you greatly.
- Yellow represents that moment before anger, feeling annoyed – or even feeling silly, on the edge, or recognizing something that may annoy you.
- Green represents happiness, joy, anything that helps you feel good about yourself.
My son, who isn’t very understanding about his emotions but is very visual can understand this explanation of feelings so much better than just labels. It helps when we are in public too, where I can say “I can tell you are in the ‘yellow zone’, what can we do to get green again?”
I’m an auditory learner, and to me this was very silly at first but it really works for children who need extra help with their emotions and are visual learners.
We then have asked him many questions (when he is in the Green zone) of what makes him feel green… if he is in the yellow, what can he do to help himself get to the green.
He has come up with exercises on his own, but the OT has helped him understand about counting, and pushing against the wall, breathing exercises- tools he wasn’t aware of, that has helped him.
Other exercises he has included is “getting a drink of water”, “going for a walk” (which he is allowed to do by most teachers), to help him stay calm. HE is also a big fan of drawing, and even drawing out his feelings is easier for him than expressing them in any other way.
We have posters around our house of “expressions” of people in each of these zones so he can recognize them in himself (and others) a lot easier.
He is soon to start Grade 3 on Monday, and I as a parent has a lot of anxiety about starting with a new teacher and knowing how much it takes for him to adjust so we are revising these colors so much before then.
Let me know if you have a similar method or something else that helps you. We need all the tools we can get to cope and adjust to this world.