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"Heavy Work" Sensory Activities

- "Heavy Work" Sensory Activities include any activity that requires your child to use their muscles and joints, putting pressure on them as they move, providing necessary sensory proprioceptive input that helps your child self-regulate.

- Such activities include:

  • Raking leaves
  • Digging a hole
  • Taking out garbage
  • Carrying laundry baskets


- "Heavy Work" calms and helps children focus by providing deep proprioceptive input into a child’s muscles and joints.

- The use of “Heavy Work” helps them self-regulate in the same way that exercise may help an adult deal with stress. Heavy work helps your child to re-center, re-focus, and lets them expend energy into appropriate outlets.



- Proprioception, otherwise known as kinesthesia, is your body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location.

- Without proprioception, you wouldn’t be able to move without thinking about your next step. Proprioception allows you to walk without consciously thinking about where to place your foot next.


Seeking Proprioceptive Feedback:

- Children often seek out proprioceptive input when they are looking for a way to calm or organize their nervous system.

- If they do not have appropriate or acceptable ways to obtain this input, they may run, jump, climb, display negative behaviors, become overwhelmed and have a sensory meltdown.


Scheduling in “Heavy Work”:

- Scheduling in “Heavy Work” time and “Heavy Work” sensory playtime can help to improve your child’s ability to focus on other tasks (sit-down tasks and activities), manage and self-regulate at more comfortable levels, and just make for a less anxious and stressful home life.


Heavy Work Activities and Chores:

- Create a list of "Heavy Work" chores.

- Pick and choose from the list – one or two different tasks a day is great!

- If there are activities that frustrate or overwhelm your child, just leave them off the list.

- Giving your child a choice helps to get them to take part.

- Slow, steady resistance, along with effort that needs to be exerted, can be just what a child needs!

- Short time frames (of 5-10 minutes at most) is all you need!

- Set a timer if you want to give your child a visual, auditory, and another way to help organize their time.

- Return to 5-10 minutes of heavy work as needed throughout the day, especially if your child needs to work on a sit-down, meal-time, or other task that requires focus and attention.


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