JUMPING As A Pro-active Intervention to Release Big Energy Before It Gets Out of Control and Makes Everybody Unhappy
In this these two video clips we wanted to show you the merits of “jumping” a high-energy kid so they are more attentive to you and can release some energy in an acceptable way.
Jumping is great because you can also interact deeply with the child while they are releasing that wild “too much” energy. Some of our best counseling moments with these children happen during the conversations we have while we are “jumping” them up and down, because we have their undivided attention and they’re happy.
Energy releasing exercises are absolutely necessary for the “too much forceful energy” child to manage their sometimes over-the-top energy and aggressiveness. Jumping works especially well in a small space and can be done quietly with only big exhalations for the release (or something louder and more fun if that would be OK.)
You and your child could also try out some other energy releasing exercises such as adult-child pillow fights, or on purpose really loud singing and dancing, or stomping around shouting out feelings (again, if loudness would be OK) or running up and down the stairs or playing tag.
The child with “too much” energy and aggressiveness needs regular outlets almost every hour for at least a few minutes. Soon the acceptable releasing strategies can become a regular routine in your home life and then they can adapt the energy-releasing methods successfully to more public settings like school, an athletic field, at a friend’s house, for a Birthday party, at the park, a visit to relatives or a restaurant.
An older child (seven to ten) might be allowed to excuse themselves (of their own choice or perhaps with a strong parental suggestion that they do so) to go to the bathroom and jump or shake around or make faces (with accompanying noises) in the mirror and then come back to the table more self-contained after the release.
Even Grandma or the babysitter or a willing pre-school teacher can do jumping or other releases with the child for happy, calming, centering results.
Some tips for energy releasing:
- Always set it up that you and your child will take time out to release before things go badly, especially anywhere that they typically “lose it” – during playtime where there might be conflicts with friends or siblings. Or at a party where everyone’s energy is UP. Or in the restaurant when they adults have been talking TOO long.
- Manage your own feelings and the attendant facial expressions or tone of voice to be at least neutral or approving. The goal is to be joyfully engaged when this child is successfully managing their big energy and forcefulness or hyper-reactivity.
- Slip in a little therapy. Make sure they are vocalizing emotions and thoughts. Make sure that you are engaged with them and the crux of what they are saying. Simply listen while they are letting out their upset at being thwarted and their hurt and angry and scared feelings. Just let them get it out in this way, safely, with you.
- Maybe probe deeper while they are jumping still but are winding down some: “What are you afraid might go wrong?” or “Are you nervous about something that might happen?” or “What else do you have to tell me?”
- Acknowledge them while they are jumping and afterward. “Isn’t this fun?” “I just love that you are using this jumping to feel more calm.” “Doesn’t it feel good to get that fierce energy out?” “I am so proud of you for coming with me to do some jumping instead of hitting your little brother.” “When we are in the restaurant let’s go outside in the middle of dinner for a few moments to do some jumping OK? Because that works for us, yes?”
A final note about the value of jumping and other energy releases – it is startling, in a really good way, for a big energy child to experience an adult being their personal advocate in having them be loud and boisterous as a healthy release, with the result being to keep them out of trouble.
Nothing builds mutual trust faster or more deeply in this type of child than having a parent who will consistently help them release their energy before it goes haywire. Needless to say it really works for the parents, once successful habits have been established. And that leads to the whole family thriving!
Questions to ask your self:
Where and when might I use jumping as a way to assist my child in getting their energy under control?
Are we already using some other ways of releasing energy that work – like tickling and laughing or playing chase in the backyard when they start to get cranky?
Try this at home and let us know if you need any assistance in making it work.
By Dr. Lonnie Green, M.Ed., PhD