Boisterous boys. Why pushing and pulling needs to be part of your early years practice.
I'm often asked how practitioners should deal with boisterous boys!
I love boisterous boys! I've got two of them of my own. Two cheeky chaps who are now at secondary school, they're still boisterous and the things I'm going to talk about below are still relevant to them, even thought they are now much older.
Have you ever noticed how boys like to use their big muscles groups - their thighs, arms, bottom?
Sometimes this spills over into behaviour that difficult to handle - pushing others, jumping off stuff, climbing about, bashing about, barging... I am a firm believer that Rugby is just big boys doing pushing and pulling.
Come to think of it maybe the mosh pit at a night club is fulfilling the same need!
The need to push and pull is called 'Heavy Work' and we all need it...
We typically think of people as having five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. But there are two others that effect us; the vestibularsense (controls balance and movement) and proprioceptive sense, which controls body awareness.
Our sense of where our body is comes from the way receptors in our muscles and joints send messages to our brain. They tell us where our body is in space, where each body part is and what it’s doing. It’s the way we know how much force to use to complete a task, like shutting a door or lifting a chair.
As a practitioners we may notice this behaviour in the boys (and sometimes the girls) we work with.
A child needs pushing and pulling because it helps them know where their body is and what it should be doing.
How Heavy Work Can Help Kids With Sensory Processing Issues
Most people get enough physical input from daily activities. But some kids may not. They need extra help “jump-starting” the systems that control balance, movement and body awareness. That’s where heavy work activities come in.
Heavy work is any type of activity that pushes or pulls against the body. It could be something like swimming or vacuuming. With those activities, the resistance of the water or the vacuum cleaner creates the push or pull.
Or it could be something like jumping on a trampoline or hanging on playground equipment. In those cases, a child’s own weight creates that resistance.
Heavy work can help calm a childs body and make them feel more connected and oriented in space. Without heavy work activities, a child may crash into or jump off things in unsafe ways.
In sessions we can enable children to experience heavy work in a safer, more consistent way. This can help them feel more organised before they need to seek input inappropriately.
Next blog post: Top 10 ways to create heavy work activities in your session!