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  • Jane Erbe, OTR/L

5-Minute Morning Routine to Set Up for a Successful Day


If you only have a few minutes in the morning, either waiting for the school bus or even walking from your front door to the car, there is an easy and quick routine you can do with your child to get his/her body ready for the day ahead.  It’s called the 4 S’s:

Spin, Stomp, Squeeze, Shhhh

SPIN:  The first thing you want to do is have you child spin around 10 times in one direction.  Stop, making sure they don’t fall over! Spin around 10 times in the other direction.

Spinning stimulates the vestibular system, which is located in the inner ear.  The vestibular system is the foundation for things like being able to sit still, either at circle or in a chair.  It links with the visual system for reading and being able to look up at the teacher and back down at the table. It’s also responsible for balance and being able to play on the playground with their friends without losing their balance!

STOMP: Tell your child to stomp their feet 10 times. They can pretend to be a dinosaur, be a superhero and try and break the concrete, whatever works for your child.

Stomping stimulates the proprioceptive system.  The proprioceptive system is located in your child’s muscles and joints.  Once stimulated, this system sends out neurochemicals which are the “feel good” chemicals, and they help keep your child calm and organized.  

SQUEEZE: You want to give your child big squeezes down his/her arms, legs, body, using very firm but comfortable compressions.  Children can give themselves squeezes too, starting by giving themselves a giant hug. Then down their arms, hands, fingers, legs, and feet.  To make this even more impactful, every time they give themselves a squeeze, either say aloud or have them say aloud something they are good at or something for which you are proud of them.  For example: squeeze “I am strong”, squeeze “I am smart”, squeeze “I am a good friend”

Squeezing stimulates the touch and proprioceptive systems.  By stimulating these systems, your child will have better awareness of each part of his/her body, which will help them learn new gross and fine motor skills in gym, in class, and on the playground.  And the positive affirmations give a feeling of comfort, harmony, and safety.

SHHHH:  The final thing you want your child to do is take a long deep breath and exhale very very slowly, making the “shhhhhh” sound.

Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly helps strengthen your child’s lung capacity and teaches children how important (and simple) getting their body ready for school can be.  It’s as simple as “take a deep breath.”

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