Getting Your Hyperactive Child to Calm Himself

Get Your Hyperactive Child to Calm Himself

This is how you’ll usually find Dragon Boy. Upside-down or blurred.

My mom gave me this advice years ago when Computer Boy was an out of control crazy little boy. I was reminded of this advice this morning when I received a comment on my last blog post about “Disrespectful Little Brat or Over-Stimulated Little Boy“.

One of my brothers (you know who you are), was a very active little boy, a lot like two of mine. My mom told me that she was able to calm him down simply by helping him recognize when he was getting out of control. When he was getting overstimulated and falling out of control, all she had to do was help him see when it was started to stop it in it’s tracks.

When Computer Boy was around 4 or 5, I noticed him beginning to roll down the mountain of craziness. There was certain wild look in his eyes that told me he was getting over stimulated. Before he could gain too much momentum, I pulled him aside and asked him how he felt. His words spoke everything. With his arm spinning in a big circle he said, “The world is going faster, faster, faster, fasterfasterfaster!”

Whoa.

Later when he had calmed down, I talked with him. I asked him if he remembered how he felt when the world was going faster. He did. I asked him if he liked that feeling. Surprisingly he said no. I thought he might answer different because when he was wild like that, he always seemed super happy. I then asked him when he starts feeling like that, could he calm himself down? He said he thought he could. I told him he was in control of himself and if he wanted to slow down, he could.

From then on out, as soon as I saw the wild look, I could just ask him if he could calm himself down and he would. He would usually close his eyes, take a deep breath, and just slow himself down.

I didn’t really need this technique with the next two kids. Ninja boy is definitely on the wild side but he never really lost control like Computer Boy did. Tiger Boy is my calm child (relatively speaking, he’s still very much an active boy). Dragon Boy? Let’s just say with Computer Boy we started off with and bang and with Dragon Boy we went out with a bang.

Dragon Boy isn’t quite at that reasoning age yet but he’s getting there. Soon, I hope. For now it’s just a matter of me recognizing an overstimulating situation and removing him from it (See Disrespectful Little Brat or Overstimulated Little Boy).

Of course, each child is different. This might not work for yours but it’s worth a shot. This is just what my mom found worked for her and what worked for me.

Disrespectful Little Brat or Overstimulated Little Boy

Disrespectful Brat or Overstimulated Little Boy

I want to share with you a little experience I had with Dragon Boy at a concert not too long ago.

Don’t you love it when your parenting skills are called into question in a very public way? That’s kind of what happened. We took the boys to a concert, Stolen Silver (who was awesome!) and Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band. We had fun. So much fun. Dancing, singing, running around. There were lots of other kids there and it was a great family experience. The picture above is us dancing before things went awry.

But something happens to Dragon Boy in these kind of situations. I should have seen it coming and taken measure to prevent what was coming but I didn’t. Lots of noise, lots of movement, lots of people, lots of a lot of craziness. It’s over stimulating and almost always leads to something not so great happening. I should have seen the wild look in his eyes and taken him outside. Life is full of should haves.

It started with Dragon Boy running up full blast and punching me in the butt. Totally unacceptable. He wasn’t doing it to be mean, he was just very amped up and decided that was the fun thing to do. Second time I caught him and told him I did not like that and if he did it again, we would have to leave.

I thought we were doing good since he decided to just run laps around the bleachers and leave me alone. But about 5 minutes after the butt punching talk, I felt an empty can of soda hit me in the back. The little stinker decided throwing an empty can of soda at me in front of a bleacher full of people would be awesome.

I could feel the judgmental eyes boring holes in me. Everyone thinking, “I wonder what she’s going to do” or “I hope that little brat gets what’s coming to him”. Heck, back BC (before children), I would have thought the same thing. I even heard someone say “Ooh, he’s gonna get it” as we walked by.

What did I do? First I took him away from all those drilling eyes. Second, I took a few deep breaths. I was mad and jerking him around, yelling, spanking wasn’t going to do either of us any good. At this point, he still didn’t even realize he had done something bad and any punishment would have been confusing.

I tried talking to him but he was still very very wound up. He wasn’t ignoring me, he was just overly stimulated and couldn’t hear me. I had him sit on my lap until I could feel him relax. When he could look me in the eyes, then I talked to him.

We did go back to the concert. Best situation would have been to leave then but I didn’t want to punish the other boys for Dragon Boy being over stimulated. We sat at the back, no more running around, just listening to the music.

So What Exactly is This Post About

The reason I wanted to share this experience is because maybe it will help someone change perspective. This situation wasn’t about Dragon Boy’s behavior, it was about what he was experiencing. Sometimes when we are able to back up and see things from the outside, we can see what is causing certain behaviors.  Kids don’t like having temper tantrums, they aren’t trying to be naughty. They aren’t thinking, “What can I do to really tick Mom off?” There is always a reason behind these behaviors and when we can see that, many times we can fix it without yelling, without spanking, without getting mad. And if we can’t change the situation, at least we can understand.

“You child isn’t giving you a hard time, your child is having a hard time.”

Give Yourself a Break, Stop Folding These Things

Just Say No to Pointless Folding

Doing laundry for 6 people, especially when 5 of the 6 people are dirty, stinky boys, is a daunting task. I wrote a little about how I keep sane with my laundry routine here: Taming the Laundry Beast. I’ll do whatever I can to make the laundry process easier.

I’m not anal about many things but there are a few. My closet is indeed arranged by color according to Roy G. Biv. And the hangers have to be white or my brain will explode. The cord on my hair dryer and immersion blender have to be wrapped just so to avoid kinking the cord. I only care about those two devices because they are the only two things I have complete control over (Lord help Husbeast when he uses either of them and puts them away incorrectly). And folding clothes or towels. My skin crawls when the towels are folded wrong. It seriously gives me the heebie jeebies.

While I will hold onto my first two obsessions with all that I can because they are mine and mine alone, the third I’m learning (very difficultly) to let go of. I can’t fold all the clothes and towels in the house, keep them neatly folded until they are used again, and keep my sanity at the same time.

(In case anyone is wondering, the only correct way to fold a towel is to stand up holding the narrow corners. Fold in thirds. Then in half and in half again. Don’t try arguing with me, there is no other correct way.)

So today, I’m going to talk about folding. Or rather, not folding.

Things I’ve stopped folding:

Underwear. Really? Does anyone care if your underwear are wrinkled. This was my first step in overcoming my folding obsession. I could not argue with the futility of folding underwear.

Pajamas. Again, who cares if your pajamas are wrinkled. Your husband? Probably not. The only pajamas they notice are the lack of pajamas.
Just Say No to Pointless Folding

Kitchen Towels and washcloths. Stuff them in a nice cloth basket. Easy Peasy. Even though I really couldn’t care less if my bath or hand towels are wrinkled, they do take up considerably less room if they are folded neatly (and look nice on my shelf or hanging on a rod). So those do get folded.

Children’s cloths. Period. At first I balked at the thought of not folding their clothes but then I pictured what their drawers looked like anyway. Previously folded clothes, now mostly unfolded and stuffed in a drawer. I could supervise them putting away clothes but, yeah, that’s not going to happen. If we need wrinkle free clothes, they get ironed. Just like before when I was folding them only to have them wadded up in a drawer. I tell my older boys, if they want wrinkle free clothes, they can fold them themselves.

Fitted sheets. I’ve seen videos going around showing how to fold them neatly. I’ve even seen a video on how to iron … IRON, and fold a fitted sheet. I don’t have the time, space, or an ounce of desire to do it that way. Here is my simple method. Wad it up and shove it in a pillow case. In case that description isn’t enough, here is a video on how to do it (kind of my video response to those other videos). You’re welcome.

Save time and energy. Just say no to pointless folding.

Science Experiment: Finding the Center of Mass

We usually do a little science experiment every week (sometimes more, sometimes less). We were reading about center of mass (or center of gravity) today and the suggested experiment looked quick and easy, and we had all the materials. Those are the 3 key factors for us to do experiments. We save the more complicated ones for special occasions or homeschool co-op days. I thought a good way to chronicle our experiments would be to post about them.

This one was so simple, the big boys all poo-pooed it so Tiger Boy (7) and Dragon Boy (4)  were my assistants. Of course as we were really getting into it, the big boys noticed we were having fun and decided to kind of join in (i.e., watch from the sidelines and offer suggestions/criticism).

Our mission today was to find the center of mass for an unusually shaped, flat object. Technically we are finding the geographical center since this is a 2D object (not 3D). The geographical center of North America is supposed pretty close to us. I wonder if this is how they figured it out. We might have to trace a map of North America and try it out :-)

Step 1: Talk about center of mass (center of gravity). We use Answers in Genesis, God’s Design for the Physical World: Machines in Motion. If you don’t have that set, no worries. There are plenty of resources online to read/watch.  Just use our good friend Google.  Here is a little video we found (plus it has another little experiment that’s easy to do).

We also talked about why this is important and how it’s applied (examples were balancing acts with multiple people, riding a bike, doing handstands, touching your toes like in the video).

Continue reading Science Experiment: Finding the Center of Mass

Orange “Coloration”

Orange Coloration

Dragon Boy (4): Mom! Come look at my orange coloration!

He excitedly pulls me over to the table to show me his orange “coloration”. Instead of trying to figure out what the picture is, I like to ask him to tell me about it. This is the story of Dragon Boy’s orange coloration.

“It’s a gun. There was guy, he was a bad guy… a zombie… a giant… in space, in a spaceship. And he dropped the gun and it dropped dropped dropped to earth. Then it hit a mountain, then water comed in the earth. And it made the earth flood.”

All that with one little mandarin orange. I wonder if this is how legends are created.