Exhausting energy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 8, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My brother and his American wife (they live in the States) have been here on a cycling holiday. They leave tomorrow and today we drove to where they are staying to spend the afternoon with them. The visit highlighted for me J's seemingly inexhaustible energy that does exhaust other people... When we arrived, he was in exploding energy mode and as soon as I could I took him outside to roller-skate (we had talked about doing that, as he couldn't take his bike) and he proceeded to whiz around the paved area and then insisted on skating down a small grassy incline again and again - despite remonstrances from me and my brother. He wouldn't accept no and in the end I just left him to it, not prepared for a public battle. He was okay... this seeking physical excitement, thrills, is very typical. Then we all (with relief) went for a long walk in the countryside outside the village - my brother and J walked ahead while I talked to my sister in law. They soon disappeared from view and when we eventually got back to the house, my brother said they had done jogging and speed walking - and that J had outstripped him and was unflagging! Indeed, he kept demanding to do more speed walking after that... Then he sat on the bed with my sister in law while she valiantly played a multitude of games and activities with him - he taking part, with occasional slides and somersaults over the bed... he also several times tried to wrestle with her, and jump all over her... Then, when that was over, he started playing at being a "stealer", running up and down the long row of houses "stealing" bits of paper and leaves (as well as a telephone and a camera from inside my brother's house, as we discovered when he emptied his bag before we left... The afternoon was full of laughter and good humour and J was sweet and affectionate as ever in between all the manic physical stuff that not infrequently exceeds the boundaries of what people are comfortable with - but I am quite sure they heaved a sigh of relief when we left. My sister in law said several times (not critically or nastily) that I must find him exhausting, tiring... This hyper-activity has become so normal for me that I don't know I even think about it much any more, other than in our small house when it is sometimes bothersome, but it is clearly like a little tornado for people who are not used to it.
    His energy truly is remarkable. If it could be channelled into sport, that he developed skills at, I imagine he would be an asset. In daily life, it is hard for people to deal with, though.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    And of course... being in a new setting is energizing for J on top of it alll, even if it is "nervous energy".
    It does get better... as they get a bit older and have to expend more significant mental energy, it slows them down a bit. (note, key words: a BIT)
  3. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    This sounds like it is all about self-regulation and his struggles in this area. If had described that scene to an occupational therapist they would have suggested things like "deep pressure". Deep pressure could look like weighted items (blanket, lap pad, shoulder wrap), firm hugs. They might also have suggested joint compressions, giving him gum to chew or snacks that are crunchy or very chewy (during the attempted quiet, game-playing moments).
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I'd give deep pressure a try.
    If you look online , you can also find a variety of fidgets. Just to get an idea, you can first try therapeutic stores, but you'll find most of them in regular stores (much cheaper).
    When possible, you can also use some music at a rate of 60 beats per minute. It is the reate of the heart and helps regulate the body. I actually do it daily for V and Sweet Pea. You can use actual therapeutic music (look up Genevieve Jereb. I love her songs for kids!), but a lot of relaxation music will work just as good. The good part about the music: you don't have to actually do anything, just turn it on and proceed with whatever you had planned.
    Visual effects can also be calming (fire, lava lamps).
    You could also try scented oil or candles. I have not tried it yet though... So can't comment on the effects. Lavender I recall is one of the calming scent.
    Keep in mind that certain activities will make him more hyper (swinging front to back, jumping on a trampoline) whereas certain activities will be calming (crashing on a bed, bean bag, doing bear walks, crab walks, etc).
    When you see J with overflowing energy, you can make an obstacle course: bear walk from A to B, then has to gather some objects using a crab walk, allow for a few big crashes, and maybe finish the whole things with a few bear hugs or a hot dog game (J is the hot dog and you put ketchup on him by squeezing his legs, arms, roll him up tight in a blanket and put some pressure all over to make sure the bun is nicely closed).
    Those are just a few ideas. Some will work, some won't. It really depends on the child.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So reminds me of my difficult child when he was that age. (((hugs)))
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Hi, Malika! I had twin boys just like your J. They do calm down when they reach age 24. It helps to know other parents who have the same type of children. I'm feeling rather sad that Maurice Sendak died today. We used to read his books together at bedtime It's great to remember the good times we spent as mom and sons together. I thought it was all so very hard when they were your son's age. Now I ache for those special moments. Of course, if we had been living in France, we would have been judged constantly.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Great ideas here.
    I have a friend whose son is like that, and is the same age as difficult child. She has had her son in 3 sports since he was 4 yrs old, and one of them is a traveling sport. She is exhausted, but her son has stayed out of trouble. He loves sports. Sounds like your son does, too! Go for it!!! Better to be exhauted in a good way. :)
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, thanks. I do feel out of my depth now, with these suggestions - like this is new territory that I have no landmarks in. Not sure where to start and there is no Occupational Therapist (OT) round here who could be of help with this kind of stuff. I did try giving J a couple of bear hugs this morning and he grinned and said he liked it... Beyond that, to be honest I feel I would need some help with establishing a programme otherwise I really don't know what I am doing and would be stabbing in the dark. I will start investigating, however...
  9. whatamess

    whatamess New Member


    The ideas are often used in what is termed a "sensory diet". It is not complicated, so do not be concerned with that. Very basically, there are two types of individuals that sensory diets are built for: avoiders and seekers. Avoiders are persons who feel off-balance (for instance are unsteady on stairs and swings), they might have oral aversions and only eat smooth, bland foods, hair cuts and trimming fingernails is upsetting, etc. Seekers aka 'crashers' are how I view my son and your J. These persons jump, bump, spin, make noise and seek extra-ordinary input for their senses. My son is 14 and he will stomp around the house, bounce, slap counters with his open hands, eat and eat and eat, make noises to hear noises, "burrow" under heaps of blankets and on and on. People with sensory integration disorder are making attempts to regulate themselves (make themselves feel good/right). For my son, this dysregulation can occur when transitions take place (ending a favorite activity, changing settings), when meeting and interacting with people, and often his dysregulation just occurs randomly. About 10 years ago, when we first consulted about these issues the suggestion was to purposefully incorporate sensory activities throughout the day (sensory diet) to attempt to prevent the dysregulation. For my son, suggestions centered around getting him to lift, pull, carry relatively heavy objects; use a therapy swing (platform swing with a specific motion and height), used weighted items (blankets, lap pad), offer food items that require effort to chew/suck (suggestions were thick liquids through a small straw (applesauce, milksha,kes), gum, chewy candy. We tried to incorporate these things like a regimen and that was not reasonable for us (we were unable to plan our day around it) and so now we help our son when he appears to be seeking and he is better about asking for things like squeezes and the like.