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I have had some house guests in my property recently, along with their small toddler and spaniel. I have noticed that the baby is often crying and fractious. I have remarked about it a few times… “Oh! he always cries when he wakes up – he is starving!” is the quick, defensive reply.

Well, its not always when he wakes up…in fact I rarely see him looking truly relaxed. It’s a shame as he is a sweet kid.

The other thing that is obvious when I have popped in (they have been staying for a month) is just how many toys he has – generally spread all over the floor and every other surface! I mean – they are beyond trip hazards! He is also used to 100% attention.

Question – how well can you read the above picture? Too busy?? See how your nervous system feels…

My question is – when does he get some downtime? Some time off?

Time when he isn’t being bombarded with images, sound, touch – i.e. OVER STIMULATION?

Clearly his parents are partly aware as they immediately put up black out curtains for his room, but he wakes between 4-5am, each morning!

Don’t get me wrong – I know most babies wake about 5.30-6am – that’s quite normal, but they usually wake gently – not this one!

If this sounds familiar – masses of toys, baby easily gets fractious, difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, anxious parents – want to be seen to be generous and doting on their child….

The child may be inadvertently over-stimulated and their nervous system has learnt to remain on a high alert status ongoingly.

Don’t worry – it’s not irreparable. Firstly, I, as a cranial Osteopath, need to help the nervous system to calm down and be able to return to its natural state of arousal (not hyper). The parents need to learn the tolerance levels of their child, and quickly. Playing with toys should NOT be about them! (the adults).

Young children get used to having more and more and more – but cannot then turn off. It means they get hardwired for more and more gadgets BUT are unable to concentrate fully on one thing for long. They are butterflies – and it can also be a sign of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD with hyperactivity as well) but isn’t always.

One simple remedy is to remove all but a handful of toys, at a time.

It forces them to concentrate more –

  • explore better and learn better.
  • They get less over tired and stressed.
  • They get more delight out of human social interaction vs the things.

This is GOOD – they need this to learn how to behave and communicate!

Try removing so much stuff – and see what happens! Get them out into nature – getting muddy, in the sun or splashing in puddles etc. It will help to normalise their nervous systems and developing brains.

As adults – remember you are not being a “bad parent” if they don’t have ALL the toys and gadgets and phones etc etc. You might be training them for a life of stress though…not so smart.

If you think your child may need some help (and you!) to de-stress and re-balance – make an appointment.

In the meantime – trust your instinct – if it looks too much to you – like the picture! It’s too much for your child.

Place your healing in my hands.

Got questions – contact me! You can also leave a message in the blog.

Gayle Palmer 2022

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