Thursday, October 18, 2007

running laps

N is an active, healthy, rambunctious, mischievous, physical child. Between sitting on his brother when he wants to play and loudly protesting simple requests, it can be exhausting to try and help him find better ways to interact. His first response has always been to strike out -- either physically or vocally.

He had gotten much better for a few weeks, but started struggling again. I tried having him do push-ups a couple months ago, and while they did seem to begin to help, it wasn't physical enough. So, I've started having him run laps in our backyard.

I don't argue or even converse with him when he starts acting out. He already knows it's inappropriate. I simply say "Nate, go run 2 laps" (or 5 or 8) If he balks, I add more laps on until he finally goes and runs them. He ALWAYS goes and runs them. I count them out for him and when he comes back in, he's usually expended enough energy that he can make better choices.

Today, he's run 23 laps and it's 1PM. Yes, that seems like quite a bit, but I haven't had to raise my voice once. His brother feels that he's safer (he is often the brunt of physical reactions.) N is much more cooperative after his runs, and much more willing to listen calmly as we discuss better ways to ask someone to play, respond to a request, etc.

I'm grateful that something is working!

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