When their babies it’s common to here, “oh their over stimulated, Ill take them to a quiet place.” But as those babies begin to grow and turns one we seem to lose the idea that children can still become over stimulated. Some children are more easily overwhelmed than others, and that’s okay. My son does not transition well and becomes overwhelmed by new things. Some people see this as shy, others see it as he’s just seeking for attention. There are many different ways a child express’s this issue but one thing is for sure they don’t usually do it with their words. Usually its in a way that is viewed as “bad behavior”. So how do we help our child with this “issue”? I don’t like the word issue because its not an issue it’s a skill that is developing slower than the others, but most see it as an issue.
Here are 5 ways I help my child:
- Hold their hand, or stay close to them and reassure them your right by them and you will keep them safe.
Children need to know they are in a safe and secure area. It’s no different with animals, the young stays by its mother for protection, not to just annoy her.
- Tell them all the GOOD things about what’s going to happen. Focus on things that would interest them.
They are going to find things that they won’t like. By telling them the bad things beforehand they are just going to get worked up even more and not be able to see the fun they could be having.
- Be patient!
This one is so hard for me sometimes because I forget I have had 27 years learn how to adjust to new things. I have also learned how to express my feelings to others. Your child may have had only 3 yrs. or like my son 5 yrs. That’s not nearly enough time to learn how to express their worries or fears in a way we can understand.
- Keep them busy.
By keeping their mind engaged on all the good things going on around them, and playing they won’t be able to worry about the bad. I can usually do this by spending a minute per age ( 5 yrs = 5minutes) on an activity before rushing off to another area. Once we have checked out everything then I let him decide what he wants to do.
- Don’t force them to do something.
I know this kind of contradicts with #4 but if your child really doesn’t want to do something don’t make them. Tell them they can just watch the activity or other children do the activity. Being cautious is a good skill for a child to learn, it helps them to observe things around them and make a safe choice on how to approach something.
- Inform those around you.
We went to the Zoo once and my son is terrified of bugs he can’t make the connection that he’s bigger than them and they can’t really hurt him. He just sees this thing zooming around him that’s going to “hurt” him. Once I explained this to my brother in law he was quick to scoop my screaming son up and fireman carry him away from the “danger” and just watch it from afar. My son felt much better that he was protected and not judged or punished for being “bad”. Just tell those around your child what could happen and if they could understand rather than judge it would make things easier for your child and you. It’s no different than a child with down-syndrome or some other mental disorder.
- Ignore the negativity!
Only you truly know your child. You know when their scared, hurt or overwhelmed from when they were a baby to know. Don’t let someone else tell you otherwise. You know if your child is just acting out for attention or is truly upset. Politely tell the know it all you appreciate their concern for your child but you have it under control. By not letting someone cloud your image of your child you can respond to your child rather than react how that person says you should. I had a friend once who said, “oh he doesn’t need time to calm down he needs a good butt spanking for acting out.” No were not friends anymore.
I cannot stress this enough! Praise even the smallest attempt by your child for getting past his “issue” and developing into a well-rounded little person. We are in the process of renting out our home and have had many strangers in and out. My son does not like new people in our home and usually runs and hides in his room. On one occasion he did just this but when it came time to view his room he actually opened the door and gave them a tour of his room. I informed the people of him not liking strangers and they praised him very highly of his wonderful tour. Needless to say now when someone comes to see our home, his room is the first room they see.