Why Sensory Processing May Be Happening
Dear Selfless Esteem,
I take care of my 3yo grandson while my daughter works. He is in constant motion, including climbing/jumping on the furniture. Plus he gets so upset over slightly-louder-than-average noises that he covers his ears. How can I get him to stop these behaviors?
What a wonderful grandmother you are! I bet your daughter really appreciates your help. And it’s evident you love your grandson and want the best for him. 💕
You asked how to get him to 1) stop climbing and jumping on the furniture and 2) stop getting upset and covering his ears whenever there are loud noises. Understandably, you are looking out for his safety and wellbeing.
First, you need to determine what the causes of these behaviors are. In order to do that, express your concerns to your daughter in the kindest, gentlest way possible, and then request that he get a physical examination by his pediatrician and an assessment by a mental health therapist. These assessments might result in referrals to more professionals, such as an occupational therapist to help with sensory integration. If you’re unfamiliar with that, please read on.
The Eight Senses
Are you aware that there are more than five senses? There are actually eight senses. In addition to sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch, there are the vestibular, proprioception, and interoception senses.
Our brains gather information from our senses. Each individual tends to either avoid information or seek more information. For example, your grandson seems to be avoiding sounds and seeking movement. I’ll leave the details to an expert in this area; please see the video below for an excellent explanation by an occupational therapist.
Sensory Activities for Children
Here are some of the ideas mentioned in the video and a couple more. 🙂
- Go on a walk with him.
- Consider using a swing, mini trampoline, rocking chair, or rocking horse.
- Ask him to help carry things and put things away (and remember to thank him).
- Try noise cancelling headphones.
- Provide tactile objects, such as kinetic sand.
Self-Care for the Caregiver
Remember to give yourself some TLC too. And since I mentioned sensory information, here are some suggestions, which are pleasing to your senses. You could even do these while you’re with your grandson.
- Wear fuzzy socks/comfy clothes.
- Drink a warm beverage.
- Listen to the birds sing.
- Eat crunchy tortilla chips with spicy salsa.
- Stop to smell the roses.
- Watch the sunset.
- Slowly sway on a porch swing.
- Pet your cat and/or dog.
- Massage your hands with scented lotion.
For more ideas, see the post “6 Effective Ways to Manage Stress.”
Partnering with God
Most of all, ask God for guidance and spend time in His presence, which is full of peace and love. For more details about focusing on God, see the post “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem,” “The Real Truth About God,” and “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps.” Also, “Hymns for a Mother’s Heart” by Jana White is a beautiful book of devotionals, hymns and prayers for maternal figures, who are facing the challenges of raising children.
God hears your prayers (Psalm 3:4). The Bible says, “Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds” (Psalm 35:6 NLT). For these reasons, God will provide all your grandson’s needs “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). 🙌
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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