11 May, 2012

Hyperactive, me?

Meredith wrote this great post over here. She's called it "Getting Kids to Multitask". I think of it more as using little physical (but rather mindless tasks) to help them to focus their minds on what was being said.

I've mentioned before, I think, that I'm a rather hyperactive person. When I say that to people who know me a bit, but not very well, they are surprised. I don't jump around, I don't appear to have trouble concentrating. But the truth is, that I do jump around a lot, especially in my head. I flit from one thing to another. It is a pest when I'm doing computer work because I'm easily distracted from what I'm doing by a whole variety of things (while I've typed this post, I've printed out a couple of different documents, read an email, and opened another tag on my internet browser).

And I'm also quite a fast thinker and I get bored easily, that means that I finish people's sentences for them (in my head, if not aloud), that I often grasp the meaning of things pretty quickly and jump ahead too fast in a conversation.I think that this either impressed or drove my Sunday School teachers mad. It can be a big advantage, but it also can be a drag when I'm supposed to be quietly listening to someone. "Be still and know that I am God" is a real challenge for me.

My husband will tell you that when we got
married, I "ran circles" around him. I had a
lot of energy. Kids have slowed me down
a lot, though recently he's wondering if I'm
starting to return to my pre-kids level of
energy. I don't think so yet, they still
drain me lot!
I also have trouble sitting still. It isn't so noticeable anymore, because I've grown up. But if you watched me carefully, I change position quite frequently. Especially if I'm in a less-than-comfortable chair. I used to get in trouble for this in church. Mum hated it. In fact she's told me that if ADD was "invented" when I was a kid, I may have gotten that diagnosis. Probably incorrectly, because, although I have those tendencies, I'm able to manage successfully to overcome them. I had a look here at a webpage on adult ADD/ADHD and it doesn't actually describe me very well. I have tendencies in these directions, yet manage to be fairly organised and self-controlled.

However, back to what Meredith wrote. She talked about giving kids something small to do while they listened to a Bible message or some other lengthy verbal address (like in a classroom). It is a strategy that I've employed for myself quite a lot, and I also apply it to my kids, especially my squirmy, intelligent eldest.

As a teenager I used to colour in the church bulletin to help with sitting through a long sermon. As an adult I take cross-stitch to long meetings. It both helps me to sit still and to keep my mouth shut until an appropriate moment comes for me to speak (yes, that is a problem for me). And I'm not the only one who does this. A leader in our mission knits during long meetings, according to his wife he doesn't knit anything particularly, but just knits for the therapeutic value.

While I'm reading at night time after dinner, if our book happens to be a little bit slow, it can get rowdy and I refuse to read over noise. So often I encourage the boys to do origami while I read. Or some other quiet thing to fiddle with while I read. It keeps them quiet, and yet busy in a non-disruptive (or destructive) way. I really don't like other people reading at that time, I have trouble myself listening to the story without rushing off to do something, so I really do understand how my son feels.

How about you? Do you find you need to do something with your hands to keep your body still and mind focused at times like these? What strategies have you found works for you, or for your kids?


Hippomanic Jen said...

I remember all the therapy students coming back to college each evening having identified themselves with whatever disorder they'd been studying this week.

Looks like I have caught ADD from the website you sent me to. Very many (but thankfully not ALL) of those symptoms, many of which have had to be corrected over time to do different work I've done.

But then, bad day to look at it. I ended up going to Brisbane for a weekend intensive that is on NEXT weekend. Need to learn to read a calendar.

KarenKTeachCamb said...

I love to colour through long meetings, even now as an adult I'll still take a colouring book and a pack of coloured pencils to workshops and long meetings. There's something therapeutic about colouring in.
I have also cross-stitched my way through many a church member's meeting. Helps me stay focussed and in one place for a longer period of time.
You definitely are not alone in this one.