Today I’m honoured to have Allison Davies, Neurologic Music Therapist and Brain Care Specialist, chatting with us about how you can use simple ways to reduce hyperactivity by using rhythm.
If you went looking for information on hyperactivity, what you’re likely to find is information on ADHD. This is annoyingly misleading because hyperactivity is something that we ALL experience, no matter our neuro-type.
Impossible to sit still
Of course we all go through times when it feels literally impossible to sit still or when we have a million thoughts going through our head at once. We find ourselves talking a lot, overthinking, or just buzzing around channeling our energy into whatever we’re currently working on.
As adults we can all relate to this feeling, so imagine how much harder it must be for our children to regulate their own activity levels, the way we do.
Put simply, they can’t – because they’re children.
Hyperactivity levels are something we can regulate
Luckily, hyperactivity levels are something we can regulate. And using music, more specifically – rhythm, to do it, makes this one of the simplest, most enjoyable, non-invasive, and effective therapeutic activities out there.
The part of our brains in charge of all our conscious movements, the motor planning cortex, is highly impressionable to everything that it hears.
This is why when we listen to music, we physically can’t help but tap our toes and move our bodies in time with the rhythm.
“If we listen to fast rhythms, our brain tells us to move fast. When we hear slower rhythms, our brain tells us to move slowly.”
In this way, we can use rhythm to manipulate the way our brain tells our body to move.
Experiencing a state of calm
Listening to music that has a tempo of 60 to 80 beats per minute reflects the resting heart rate and is a great way to entrain your child’s brain into telling them to move more slowly. It can also reduce their heart rate and their respiratory rate so they can genuinely experience a state of calm.
Find rhythms or listen to music that starts off fast, or matches their intensity level, and then reduce the tempo over time to bring them to a more regulated state. A great way of doing this is to compile a playlist of three or four songs.
The first song on the playlist should be fast or match their heightened hyperactive state. The second song, a bit slower. The next, a bit slower again.
And by the time you finish the playlist, everybody should be experiencing a regulated state of calm. Or at least be less hyperactive than when the music started.
Make sure you use songs that your child loves, other than that? There are no rules.
You may find this doesn’t work the first time. But over time, and with a bit of tweaking based on your own trial and error, this little activity may just become your saving grace.
Mum, Wife, Educator, Advocate, Speaker, Neurologic Music Therapist and creator of Brains = Behaviours.
Since 2005 Allison has run a private music therapy practice in both clinical and community settings. It’s been in the areas of early childhood intervention, special educational needs, autism spectrum disorder, juvenile detention, youth engagement, mental health, aged care, palliative care, dementia care, perinatal care and speech-rehabilitation.
In 2016 AMP recognised her workshop Brains = Behaviours with a grant and she was named a 2016 National AMP Tomorrow Maker for her contribution to helping create a better tomorrow for Australian families.
Allison’s aim is to offer you lightbulb moments. New levels of clarity that help you understand your child that little bit better, give you the knowledge you seek to empower you in making positive change for your families, classrooms, clients and friends.
Feel free to check out more about Allison via her website below
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