You’ve heard of people pacing or taking a walk when they’re angry. It’s a strategy that can support them to regulate their emotions and calm down.
For kids, another thing that can help is giving them heavy work. Heavy work just means something with big gross-motor body movements that involves pushing or pulling or squeezing - lots of muscles engaged.
Heavy work is a kind of proprioceptive input. Your proprioceptive sense let’s you know where your body is in space, so heavy movement can help kids to feel their bodies. This can make their brains feel more organised and calm.
It’s best to do some heavy work with your little one before they’re totally disregulated and angry. If they’re ‘losing it’ then they’re going to struggle to do anything you say. But if you can get in there early enough, some ‘busy jobs’ like lifting things for you or pushing heavy things will calm your child.
I used this today when August was incredibly disregulated and trying to hurt his sister repetitively. I knew he didn’t really want to hurt anyone, he just wasn’t in control of his body. Heavy work helped him to get back in control.
It’s so important to remember that kids don’t want to misbehave. They never want to. Their behaviour is communication and they’re communicating that something isn’t right - they have needs that aren’t being met. Their underdeveloped brains don’t know how to sort out those needs and stay regulated- it’s our job to stay calm and get to the bottom of the problem. There’s no such thing as naughty.
Watch the full reel here
Questions? Ask away. And let me know any heavy work activities you use.