I have two little humans that teach me daily!!! I try my best to learn from them and FOR them!! My husband and I both take parenting to heart and want to give our kids OUR best. As I read, listen, inquire, and observe, I find that there is always a new way to look at the same information. In trying to be the best mom and chiropractor I can be, I have found that stimulus is one thing that I can influence and regulate to help children thrive. I want to inspire you with what I’ve learned!
- a thing or event that evokes a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue.
“areas of the brain which respond to auditory stimuli”
The nervous system has countless jobs, but one very important job is deciphering stimulus to determine if you are safe or not. Safety = survival. It’s not that simple, but it is. So, as a newborn, your brain starts processing every smell, sound, vibration, touch, taste, and sight to decide which system to activate – sympathetic or parasympathetic. As you grow and learn, your nervous system uses older information to make quicker, more efficient decisions about stimulus – still deciding if you feel safe or not. As the nervous system matures, it attaches emotions with stimulus. This is how you can feel love and security as you smell a honeysuckle that reminds you of your grandma.
How does this relate to your day-to-day role as a parent, teacher, grandparent or lover of children? It’s everything! Since a child spends most of their time with their parent at their home, the smells, sounds, sights, etc of those people and that space are most safe. As stimulus varies from that “normal” the nervous system must work (expend energy) to decipher the degree of safety. Unfortunately, the younger they are, the more black and white the conclusion is: mom=safe (parasympathetic) VS neighbor=not safe (sympathetic). So every time your child goes to a new place, hears a new tone of voice, smells a different odor, eats a new food, sees a face they have not seen often/ever – the amount of WORK that has to be done to maintain homeostasis is dramatically more. This means they increase the demand for vitamins, minerals, hydration, sleep, comfort, calories, and calm.
You can loosely correlate this to the allostatic load that many athletes use to determine how often and how hard they work out. Most commonly you hear the analogy of a cup. If the cup is full – you can handle more. If the cup is low or empty, you need to rest and refuel.
So, if you want to be supermom and have the best functioning kids on the block – moderate their stimulus! Make sure your outings and social activities don’t drain their cup AND plan adequate time to rest and refuel. This might look like:
- Doing 2 errands per day for 5 days instead of 10 errands in 1 day
- Mandating rest the day before and after a birthday party or family gathering
- Planning extra cuddles adjacent to leaving for work and when you return home
- Limiting the amount of time you spend at a playdate
- Packing “safe” items that smell, sound, or look like home when your child is away
- This inspires you!!
- You find that balancing stimulus helps your little human thrive like never before!!
- Your little human gets adjusted; adjustments help the receipt and response to stimulus like nothing else can!!
- You feel like you can relate to your child’s behavior in a more compassionate and understanding way!
In Love and Service,
Taryn Lowery, DC