Are you listening? I yell out. Why are you ignoring me?
Yes, that’s me, trying to get my son’s attention. But he’s too busy. So busy and his body is always moving.
Is your child constantly moving? Never does as you ask until you finally have to hold onto your child and make them give you eye contact, and really listen?
I’m not a medical professional; I’m a mom like you who struggled with getting my son to listen and really hear me until I took the time to understand sensory input. So I’m sharing some of these tips with you today.
If your child is hyper, always moving, can’t sit still or listen to you, your child is very likely seeking proprioceptive and vestibular sensory input. And that’s perfectly normal!
Some kids need more sensory input than others, with or without a sensory processing disorder, and it is our duty as parents to help facilitate that need. You also want to be careful of sensory overload. Read this free guide for more information on sensory processing overload.
Once that need for movement, touch, and/or pressure is met, the child is in a much better position to listen and do the task you are asking him or her to do.
What is the Proprioceptive Sense?
The proprioceptive sense: signaling body shape, body position and movement, and muscle force. Source.
The proprioceptive sense focuses our body’s position in space and includes the sensations of pulling, squeezing, pushing, and related feelings of the pressure relationship between your body and another object. This sense plays a role in motor development.
If your child is constantly hands-on, this is the sense that needs more input. My child was always getting in trouble at school for not keeping his hands to himself, and I have been focusing on finding ways for him to meet his sensory needs in other ways.
What is the Vestibular Sense?
The vestibular sense is the sense of balance and spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. Source.
In the vestibular sense, your body’s orientation and balance are important. These include the sensations felt when jumping and swinging.
This sense is very important in preventing falls (because when a toddler falls and hits his head is a scary situation).
Related: If your child is often angry, you may want to read this post.
Proprioceptive and Vestibular Sensory Input Ideas
Some activities are great because they give both proprioceptive and vestibular input. One example is jumping. The sensation when you are airborne is vestibular, but the pressure of leaving the ground and returning to the ground in the jump is proprioceptive.
Here are some ideas for easy activities you can use to get your hyper child some proprioceptive and vestibular input and take a sensory break.
- Trampolinejump (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Wheelbarrow walk with the help of a friend or parent (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Pull on an exercise band (proprioceptive)
- Beanbag toss (proprioceptive)
- Stress ball squeeze (proprioceptive)
- Stretch really tall (vestibular)
- Stomp your feet (proprioceptive)
- Push the wall (proprioceptive)
- Jumping on your toes (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Hop on one foot (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Jump rope (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Slide down on a park slide (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Swings (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Run in place (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Touch your toes (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Wiggle around like a snake (proprioceptive)
- Bear hugs or squeezing hands (proprioceptive)
- Hang upside down (vestibular)
- Spin in a circle (vestibular)
- Toss a ball back and forth (both proprioceptive and vestibular)
So when my son won’t stop touching things or people, I redirect to a proprioceptive sensory break activity to help satisfy that sensory need. Or when he just refuses to listen, I ask him if he wants to jump or toss a ball back and forth. That helps to regulate him, give his brain a chance to refocus, and then I can ask him to help clean up, again.
What other ideas for proprioceptive and vestibular input or sensory breaks do you have and tried with your kids?
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