This lesson was learned years ago when Jake was in pre-k. He needed to chew all day -- every day. Chewy things, crunchy things, rubbery things all went into his mouth. Spit would run down his arms from the chew-toys and still does if he's really upset.
Physiologically, I'm not clear on how this calms the senses and the body but it works. Case in point, this morning's near meltdown.
Jake became upset when the bus pulled up early and we didn't get to "play catch" as planned. The running, jumping, tears and fears all started and I was sure there was no way he could ride the bus in this state of emotional upset.
We did the deep breathing, downward dog, and all the usual calming techniques without success. Then I pulled out a piece of gum. No lie, three chews in, his breathing deepened, his heart rate slowed and he prepared himself for the ride. Up he went and off they go.
A quick email fired off to teachers to watch for the arrival of Hurricane Jake and we're good.
Never underestimate the power of gum! (BTW: it also helps during homework time and church!)