An occupational therapist friend of mine likes to ask her kids, when she greets them, how’s your engine today? What she is referring to is are they feeling/behaving fast or slow? Are they a little on the hyper side or sluggish? Manic or depressed? You get the idea…

It is a simple gauge of where she needs to go in treatment. If they say it is running fast then she engages them in activities to bring that engine down to a more resting baseline where she can do more introverted or detailed work. Every try to get a child to sit still and concentrate when thy are hyper? That’s a good way for everyone to be frustrated.

Use this at home by talking about a train engine that can run really fast or very slow. Connect it to stimulating events (fuel) that goes into their engines (mind/body/emotions) or lack of stimulation that causes them to be bored or “tired” or sluggish. Plan some interventions to bring them back to a mid-line energy level. Don’t try to do homework if they aren’t in the “zone”. You will be glad you took the time to modify their energy.

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