FROM AMANDA: A few weeks ago I went on an outreach and worked with amazing twin boys. (For those of you unfamiliar with outreaches, it’s a service we offer to families with children in the Son Rise Program, in which Child Facilitators go into the home and work in the playroom, and/or teachers work with parents and volunteers to enhance the program.) On this particular outreach, both boys loved physical play. Especially, SPINNING!
When I went into the playroom for the first three hour segment with the first child, I immediately learned he wanted to spin. He ran up to me, held onto my hands, ran around me until I began to go in the same direction, and then lifted his feet off the ground like that of a carnival swing. FUN! For the entire three hours, we did some spinning, running, spinning, jumping, spinning, and riding. I loved being with this little boy.
The second half of the day, I got to be with the other boy and he loved spinning even more than the first. He too, ran over to me when I entered the playroom, took my hands, and propelled himself into motion to get a spinning ride. The difference with the second child was that there was no running in between spinning. IT WAS ALL SPINNING! I loved having this moment with my friend as we laughed and played, but after two hours of spinning, I realized my stomach was spinning too. When the child came up to me to get another spin, I explained ” I love that you are wanting another spin honey , but right now, I am going to take care of my body and I am not going to spin you because my stomach is upset.” I then offered the child other forms of sensory input (hanging him upside down, some bounces on the therapy ball, squeezes on his head, etc.) and he continued to grab my hands while trying to spin himself. At this point, I decided to remain comfortable in my decision not to spin him, and I continued to explain why. After several more attempts to spin himself around, the child accepted my offer to give him bounces and we moved to a new and exciting game.
When you are in the playroom with your child, believe in what your body is telling you. If you are tired from giving the child rides on your back, sit down on the therapy ball and explain that you are gong to take care of your back and give him/her a ride in different way. If the child has a tantrum, stay calm and comfortable, and trust are teaching the child a valuable lesson (not always getting what you want). Being with your child in a loving, accepting, and non-judgmental way is one of the best gifts you can give. There are many ways to build connection; Spinning them is just an added bonus, so if your body can’t do it, don’t be hard on yourself. You will find other ways to build connection. I did!.