Monday, July 18, 2011


One of the things I find to be essential with high energy kids is acceptance. It is all too easy to get in the mode of hushing them, trying to get them to "settle down", and getting in a pattern of frustration and dead ends. It is kind of like telling me to not be so tall... it is something I can't really do much about, unless I scrunch myself and that kind of makes it more obvious - plus, it has the chance to make me feel badly about being "so tall".

Little things can help. High energy kids are usually high *volume* as well: ear protectors, ear plugs and even headphones can help take the edge out of the high energy soundtrack.
All of these "noise reducers" filter out the volume, but still allow the wearer to hear, so they can talk and hear requests and such. Taking the edge off helps me focus and accept that this is who they are, just as I am tall.

Part of that acceptance is knowing that some places can be tricky or need to be postponed until such a time when they can manage their energy better. Sometimes, we can attend a classical quartet concert in a church - not frequently, but for special occasions. If we do head to something that is not a high energy-friendly place, I need to take along occupiers (for my kids, DS games and drawing notebooks & pencils fills the bill), and I need to accept that we may not be able to stay for the full event. If energy builds and threatens to burst, we need to leave early. Sometimes, there is an intermission or the ability to take a break, where we can walk around to help use some of that energy, or maybe we can take a run outside and that can help us stay for more of the event. Sometimes, we need to go somewhere beforehand and use up large amounts of energy and/or after the event. Sometimes, sitting close where I can rub a back or an arm or get in a hug or a snuggle will also help diffuse the energy. The key is knowing your kid, having lots of options and solutions in your "toolbox", and the ability to be flexible. This is far easier than taking a high energy kid somewhere and then trying to "conform" them into a "sitting quietly" kind of kid and possibly being embarrassed or disrupting other people's experience in the not-high-energy-friendly place.

Acceptance also means knowing that my energy doesn't match theirs and can't always keep up. I *do* need ear protection sometimes, to keep my nerves from jangling with the volume. I can make modifications where I can help out or be a watcher or participate in a small way when my kids need me to be *in* their action. Sometimes, I need to take a few minutes and go to a quiet place and lay back, do my deep breathing, close my eyes and let all the demands on my senses fall away, and refresh myself.

Acceptance means snacks. :~D My kids use up a *lot* of energy, so, most everywhere we go, I need to take water or drinks and some sort of snack. Wyl's blood sugar gets off if he doesn't eat regularly and that can make him grouchy or even nasty and he can't think well when his blood sugar is off. For a while, we traveled such distances, that I kept non-spoiling snacks in the car with us, but we're closer to home now and so used to taking things with us that I usually have at least a can of nuts or granola bars or crackers or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with us. Depending on where we're headed, sometimes we can take a little picnic or even some fruit or raw vegetables, but nuts and breakfast/energy bars are easy and appropriate for almost anywhere.

Being the calm in the eye of the "energy storm" takes a certain kind of energy, and it is much easier to do once "acceptance" is learned. Practicing thinking outside the box and being prepared come easier with time.