I just volunteered at G’s Spree Day and was posted at Dizzy Bat! Oh boy, spinning is not my thing! For each group demonstration, I put my head on that bad and spun around 1 time, and 1 time was enough for me. I explained to the kids that they needed to do that three times, because there was no way I could handle those 3 spins! When does this happen, why do we LOVE to spin when we are kids but as adults one rotation is more than we can handle?
Spinning or ROTATION is one of the three planes of movement, and the one that kids seem to seek out the most. Rotation stimulates our vestibular system but also helps us to find our center of gravity. So young children spin so they can learn more about balance and where their body is in space. The more we feel where we are in space, the more grounded, comforted, and focused we are!
ANGULAR movement is exciting for our sensory systems, stimulating fluid in more than one of the semi-circular canals in our ears at the same time. These types of movements are often irregular and FUN – bouncing, flipping, falling, hanging upside-down. Again, the more movement, the more informed we are about our bodies! These types of movements are necessary for child development, but can really rev up our engines. For us, at home, I know that when my kids starting spinning and running around, their bodies need it! But of course it always happens right before bedtime. So planning some rough play, playground time, forward rolls, etc. earlier in the day can help kiddos to meet their need prior to bedtime.
The last plane of movement is LINEAR and this type of movement can be calming. When moving RHYTHMICALLY and in one plane (back <-> front, side <-> side); movements like walking, rocking, swinging can help with regulating the body. Think about how you feel during and after sitting in a rocking chair or going for a leisurely walk. More clear, more content.
SO with all this in mind, I thought, lets get a swing that will offer that nice linear movement, partially enclosed to block out some auditory and visual input – perfect right? For helping with calming and regulating…
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Well look at how they are using it! Twisting it up tight and letting go for some crazy spinning! My kids are giving their vestibular systems exactly what they need. And clearly they still need a lot of input that stimulates their system, helping to better develop that sense of balance and position in space.
The other swing in our playroom seems to be offering more for calming and regulating – our trapeze bar! G spends at least an hour in total every day, swinging back and forth and hanging upside-down from her knees. It’s a great swing, because it offers a lot of PROPRIOCEPTION or muscle work as they hang and hold their body weight. Swinging in the back and forth plane and getting proprioception at the same time, actually ends up being the more regulating tool, despite my attempt with the pod swing!
Both of these swings are perfect for indoor and outdoors, and perhaps the change of location could also change the purpose of the swing. I picture this swing to be perfect for curling up and reading a book. But, of course, my kids might still think otherwise 😉
The 3 Word Review
C (4): Swingy, Two, Metal
G (7): Swing, Flip, Fun
C: Spinny, Silky, Fast
G: Swing, Fun, Squishy
Something to keep in mind: Kids typically know what their bodies need, in terms of movement, but when they are asking to be pushed or spun, it is important to look check in and look for signs of overstimulation – such as color change, change in respiration, or sudden nausea.