by: Amy Bumgarner, OTR/L
Oral motor input has an intense effect on the nervous system. Do you ever chew gum while working on a big project or taking a test? I do, and that is because this input is very calming and organizing to the nervous system. It allows us to concentrate and produce our best work. Just as we use this input throughout the day to organize our bodies, our kids can benefit from that too. While they are at school you can help by providing a sensory smart lunch!
Sucking and blowing are calming to the nervous system. If your child is silly, distractible, and a little too active try some of these foods:
Applesauce in a pouch or through a straw
Use a straw for any drink
Pudding with a straw
Orange or grapefruit wedges
Yogurt with a straw
Anything citrus is going to facilitate sucking
Biting and crunching are alerting to the nervous system. These foods are good to alert a sluggish child. These might make for a good morning snack if your child has a hard time waking up in the morning.
Chewing is organizing to the nervous system. Your child may benefit from these foods if they get too worked up during recess or gym class.
Fruit chews or fruit leather
Also, be mindful of how much sugar is in the foods you are sending. We don’t want to undo all the organizing we have done!