One of my boys has been feeling quite emotional lately. We have been supporting him through talking, lots of rest and cuddles and trying to get to the bottom of what’s unbalanced him, through play. We use puppets to act out scenes from his day, and for free play, but there have been precious few clues, and his behaviours have been escalating.

I know and you know, that when a behaviour is escalating, it is because the root cause remains unaddressed. My husband and I put our heads together this morning, and tried to work it out. There has been some big transitions lately, and whilst they are causing a normal amount of stress, we didn’t think that any one thing was the problem. The situation/problem felt hazy.

My ever clever husband said, ‘let’s think about it as if we had a parenting coach’ come in and watch us for a day. What themes would they pick up?

We started throwing around ideas, knowing that many would be off the mark, and trusting that some would feel like we were circling in.

We realised quite quickly, that we had stopped rough-housing as much with him. For all children, rough-housing is a really important bonding experience with their parent or primary care giver. It’s important to wrestle and roll and use their body against yours in safe and supported ways. In our attempts to emotionally support him, we had unwittingly reduced the bodily/sensory inputs into his nervous system which are designed to help regulate his feelings.

My husband called our son over and initiated friendly body related play. They rolled around on the ground and my son flew up in the air using my husbands hands to hold him ‘aeroplane’ style. He somersaulted, bounced, jumped and generally got completely into it. This may sound silly, but I swear I could feel the magic in the air as I watched his body get what it needed to help my son rebalance. The energy of my child changed in front of our eyes, and he happily went off to play independently.

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