07 Mar Why does your child jump on the couch?
Children all around the world, with and without autism, love to jump on the couch. Why is this?
Kids need an outlet, a safe place to release energy so that they can try to fully focus on the world around them. Your couch seems like the best place to do this, doesn’t it? It’s cushiony, cozy, family gathers on it, it’s in the center of the home, and it’s got a great bounce.
If your child with autism is constantly bouncing on the couch, he is probably trying to tell you something. He is letting you know that his body needs input. Occupational therapists often refer to this as proprioceptive input, which is input that your body is receiving through its joints and muscles. This input can be obtained from pushing and lifting objects, doing push-ups, jumping up and down, and pulling objects.
After your child receives proprioceptive input, he will most likely feel calmer and have an increased awareness of his surroundings. He is going to feel so much better, which will positively impact not just his mood, but yours as well. He will probably be able to sit longer for meals, and even attend to tasks like homework in a chair.
Perhaps you don’t like when your child jumps on your beloved living room furniture. What can he do instead? You can offer him his bed, an air mattress, a mound of pillows, a trampoline, an exercise ball to sit on and bounce, or even teach him how to do jumping jacks. Whatever it is that you encourage him to do, be sure to allow him to jump until his heart and his body are content. Of course, monitor all activities and make sure there are no tables with sharp edges near his jumping. You may even consider jumping with your child, and then you can see what all the fuss is about!
Here’s something else that’s pretty important for you to know: if you stop your child from jumping, he is going to find another way to get his needs met that may be even less desirable than bouncing on the couch (like climbing onto counter tops and jumping onto the kitchen floor…I speak from experience).
Oh, and when your child finds something that helps him calm his body down, be sure to share this strategy with his teacher and grandparents too.
Please share below. Does your child love to jump? If so, where is his favorite place to jump?
For more support and strategies, please be sure to check out our online program, The Autism Solutions Blueprint. There is a section focused on sensory challenges (among 11 other topics), visual tools that you can print out, and video trainings to walk you through how to make your home autism-friendly. In honor of April being Autism Awareness Month, you can literally pay whatever you can afford for this program for the next few weeks. Click here for more information.