Processing Anger with Heavy Work – Real Work

What we know is that heavy work moves the area of the brain from the reactive fight or flight mode to a more thoughtful, calm area. The use of heavy work to help the child self-regulate is called bottom up inhibition.

We do not bother reasoning or processing with an angry child. (Certainly, we do not bring out reasoning in a child prior to age 5 anyway, so not to prematurely awaken them from their dreamy state.) Besides, the only thing an angry child wants is his/her way (just like adults when we are angry).

Children who are angry or violent benefit most from purposeful, heavy work to and from the muscles and joints, called proprioceptive input. There are many ways for the brain to receive proprioceptive input such as pushing and pulling, crashing, lifting, holding, or jumping. Examples of heavy work include anything that makes the muscles activate against resistance such as rolling, crawling up inclines, mountain climbing, hiking, wheelbarrow walking, walking upstairs two at a time, karate, stretching apart bicycle tubes, carrying heavy items, wrestling, roughhousing, running games, playing football, moving furniture, scrubbing the floor on hands and knees, obstacle courses, crab walking and other animals, digging the garden, bike riding, long adventure walks, taking out the garbage. The optimal alignment at the jaw, shoulder and hips is critical to the activation of proximal musculature for most effective organizing

The ideal work is real work. Remember how well the distraction technique worked when they were two? It works at all ages (even on spouses:) As soon as you realize your child is melting down, distract him. We know that no amount of logic is going to help him. So, take him outside to engage in purposeful, real work activities: lifting and moving firewood from one side of the house to the other; using real tools and digging a garden; carrying and rearranging stones; building paths, making fire pits.

On a side, keep in mind it is important to provide plenty of physical exercise every day with outdoor play, long adventures, nature walks, swings and more.

Cooperative Games

Cooperative games are games for play and fun. They challenge and entertain while providing meaningful practice in positive social skills—skills such as communication, trust, problem solving, and compassion. The emphasis on cooperation is particularly appropriate with young children. The challenge is the team against nature, such as before the tide comes in, the sun goes down or the clock strikes midnight. Whereas competitive games with winners and losers creates separation, power in defeating another and hard feelings – cooperative games teach skills that we want our children to develop to help manage sibling rivalry, bond families in cooperation and support young children as they develop morals, values and other developmental milestones such as the ability to share, find solutions, be kind and support one another.

Cooperative games can be homemade designs and creations. Over the years we have made up many fabulous cooperative games with specific goals for various children. We may start offering them in our store one day. Meanwhile you may also purchase cooperative games on line at

Truly Winning

by allowing children to flourish through providing free play and loosely structured skill building activities and discouraging early adult oriented, league structured competitions focused on winning

A New/Old Framework: Four Stages of Healthy, Holistic Age Appropriate Youth Sports for Healthy, Supple, Adaptive, and Creative Children.

This is not anti-winning, or crunchy granola where everyone gets a trophy, it’s an interest in redefining what winning really is. This includes the environment where children self-discover, develop movement skills, a healthy physical body, cognitive sports awareness, encouraging peer mentorship and balanced adult guidance.

Ten years ago US DPT of Labor reported our children would likely remain in a job for 2-3 years, now the average tenure is 18 months. We need to be quick on our feet, adaptable and flexible with strong people skills. Carol Dwerk reports “No parent thinks, “I wonder what I can do today to undermine my children, subvert their effort, turn them off learning, and limit their achievement” and yet todays parents are reeling as they see their tremendous efforts, money for lessons, commitment to weekend sports and all the driving not developing the motivated, successful, balanced, kind, compassionate, self-motivated, grateful children they had in mind. And more, the universities then have to unteach and develop student’s deficient executive functioning skills. Harvard is complaining about “teacups and crispies” – freshman arriving either fragile or burnt out, as well as lacking impulse control (one of best predictors of school success,) and weak in fore-planning to see consequences of actions.

The structured/competitive activities of organized sports hardens children physical and emotionally and their development is interfered with by competitive parents overscheduling, over stimulating and subsequently creating anxiety in children who are overwhelmed. Early competition makes them bossy and domineering rather than connected, it is competition over friendship. There is pressure to win on the field but they are losing in life.

The Truly Winning framework is to respect childrens’ developmental timeline, promote free play and cultivate teen athletes; to socially interact developing flexibility, problem solving, conflict management skills and healthy morals; to emotionally build self-esteem, healthy self image and ability to understand others point of view.

The formative stages: young children solitary play then parallel play along side another progresses to “let’s pretend”/dress up/imaginative play which is often then interrupted by structured team sports with adult rules and leadership lacking flexibility, creativity and self direction.

Stage One: 5-8 Movement Skills: Balance, Coordination, Creativity and Laughter with an emphasis on fun and fundamental skill development with an awareness that we are developing executive functioning skills.
Stage Two: 9-11 Basic Sport Skills with Enjoyment: Throwing, Catching, Kicking added to movement training for long periods of fun time. Develop Imagination, Cooperate, Problem Solve, Be Adaptable, Negotiate, and Build Self Control. Flag football, 3 on 3 soccer, small playing areas for lacrosse and ice-hockey with rules according to age, space and expanding creativity.
Stage Three: 12-15 Sport Specific Skills, Have Fun, Learn with Anticipation: learning techniques, games, strategies on smaller fields with self-assessment measures. The sports alternate for proper, healthy body development. The fun experienced promotes success.
Stage Four 16-18: Now the teen has a well developed body and skills with coordination and proficiency in many activities and sports. From this strong physical and cognitive foundation teens can now adapt to any sport and are ready to train and compete in regulation size full games, on travel teams. Teens who have not been brought up on games tend to default to anger, blaming and shouting at teammates and would heal if practices included 20 minutes of traditional games such a capture the flag or games where encouragement to pass to less skilled teammates who then scored resulted in more points.

Did you win?” focuses on results and victory rather than asking them to share their experience. In Truly Winning we focus on sportsmanship, values, effort, learning and childhood fun. We show interest in tracking the child’s personal successes not the team’s final score, which is out of your child’s control. We provide a narrative over days without criticism or false praise. Messages: I am present! I notice all of you not just the wins. I hear you. I care about you.

The top players at age 5 & 6 are pushed ahead to become heavily involved in sports. These children are at risk of becoming aggressive and having behavioral problems while all the other children do not explore their talents. There is fun and no even, balanced body development but rather adult competition with cheating, bullying and violence. According to the National Alliance for Sports 70% of children will drop out of organized sports by age 13 and never play them again. They will live with significant injuries for the rest of their lives caused by incorrect and over training. According to Michael Pfahl, executive director of the National Youth Sports Coaches Association, the number one reason they quit is it stopped being fun. With information like this it is time to rethink youth sports.

Recruit like minded parents, not just fathers, and bring back play with variety of unstructured, self or semi-structured play, activities and environments: unscripted play, tag in the park, four square, street hockey, beach soccer, obstacle courses, back yard bike ramp where skills are naturally developed. This allows children to make up their own games, play every position, and devise and revise the rules, with an emphasis on playing for joy. We change the rules and parameters of drills and games: use four goals instead of two, place them in different positions, change the size and space, change the equipment so they have to problem solve, be flexible and adapt. Harvard professors complain it takes years to deprogram students to be creative, innovative thinkers outside of their boxes.

Finally, and equally important, we are encouraged to explore our own sports biography it can provide us with great insight and support to temper our influence.

Reading, Research, Quotes and References

American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006. “Free and unstructured play is healthy and in fact essential for helping children reach important social, emotional and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000. “Those who participate in a variety of sports and specialize only after reaching puberty tend to be more consistent performers, have fewer injuries, and adhere to sports play longer than those who specialize early.”

Bigelow, Bob. Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Your Child’s Fun and Success in Youth Sports

Dake, Price and Telljohann found that bullies were significantly more likely to become involved in self destructive behaviors such as alcohol use…tobacco use….and fighting….Significant relationships also existed with bullying others and weapon carrying, cheating on tests…stealing…vandalism…having trouble with the police and skipping school.

Dwerk, Carol. Mindset. Stanford University has researched how overpraised, over trained and over structured young people do not live up to their potential.

Einsten, Albert. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

Engh, Fred. Why Johnny Hates Sports: Why Organized Youth Sports Are Failing Our Children and What We Can Do About it. An expose of abuses in youth sports by the founder of the National Youth Sports Alliance.

Eron, Huesmann, Dubow, Romanoff and Yarnell’s longitudinal study reported that children who bullied at age 8 had a 1 in 4 chance of ending up with a criminal record by age 30, as compared to a 1 in 20 chance that most children have. They were more likely to be convicted of serious crimes…and were more abusive to their wives and children.

Dan Goleman. Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ. The best predictor of mental health problems at age 18, which means more than anything, more than teacher ratings, psychological testing, and school performance is how popular a child is in third grade.

In the corporate world less than 20% of the job is intellectual – 80% is emotional intelligence: de-ecscalating conflict, seeking feedback including conflict and contradiction, adaptability, seeing motive and action, drawing talent out in others, timing of comments and actions, wide range of responses, welcoming collaboration.

Cost to production: Those bullied are sick twice as often and for twice as long, double the depression, not able to focus.

L. Rowell Huesmann published a 15-year study on the effects of television on youth. He found that young children who watch more violent television are more likely to abuse spouses as adults and to assault others. He found that most profound effects on behavior were by those who identified with the violent hero in which the character is praised or rewarded. He also stated that while there are no long-term studies of violent video games yet we should be concerned about lessons learned through repeatedly practicing violent games.

Hyman, Mark and Dr. Robert Cantu. Concussions and Our Kids: America’s Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe.

Hyman, Mark. Until it Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How it Harms Our Kids.

Lanza, Mike. Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood into a Place for Play.

This is a blueprint for neighborhood parents who want to create environments for kids to have healthy fun.

Olweus, Dan. He is the pioneer and founding father of research on bullying problems and world leading expert on bullying in schools and the author of, Bullying at School: What We know and What We Can Do and Class Meetings that Matter: A K-5 Year’s Worth of Resources (We disagree with the “consequences with some degree of discomfort and unpleasantness”). Targets are sensitive, cautious, quieter and not assertive, usually from a family that is not socially connected with any other families.

Ross, Dorothea. Childhood Bullying and Teasing.

Siegel, Dan. Parenting from the Inside Out. Our past issues influence our parenting.

Steiner, Rudolph. “If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole living being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence and purpose to the service of the world.”

Wolff, Rick. Good Sports. “Ages 5-12 need not be concerned with excellence at refined sports…unimportant…the key is to develop passion…many kids lose their passion because they feel they cannot live up to their parents’ and coaches’ expectations.”

Outdoor Recess
for Social-Emotional Development and
the Healing and Health Development of
Movement and Balance Skills

Playground games build social skills such as cooperative, negotiation and assertiveness skills. As the children grow these games develop their sense of self in relationship to the world around them.

The modern day child’s sense of movement and balance has dulled from sitting throughout the day, spending hours on devices and in cars fastened in seatbelts, time on electronics, and learning to read at a younger and younger age. Children need to run, jump, skip and hop, and engage in the natural world to meet the world with purpose, and equipoise for overall health now and for later in life.

Recess Games
for Growing through the Developmental Ages & Stages


a sorts of balls: beach, foam, wool or slightly deflated volleyballs and smaller sized basketball to protect small, growing fingers and developing bodies, tennis balls.
hula hoops
skipping ropes
bean bags

Ages 6-7
mostly spontaneous play
homemade counting rhymes
finger games
clapping gamrs
string games
cats cradle
chasing games can be outer, unconscious expressions to master fears, have control over bad guys and empowerment in times of danger and strength and courage for dealing with nightmares. Also chasing games help develop spacial awareness, building skills of thinking/perceiving (He’s getting close), feeling (scared, excited, worried) and willing/doing (running away).

Ages 7-8
skipping begin with running through the rope in pairs
learn verses, create own, make own rhythms – verbal helps move along courage to work against the rope
running games

Ages 9-10
At this age children just follow the basics of a game: rarely creating their own rules and no longer changing rules to aid a challenged player or work around a playground condition.

A Few General Details

15 minutes of morning rhythmical movements – clapping, stomping, skipping and singing games through age 12 and games after lunch

Games are taught by using words, images and imitation.

Primary School We Pick the Teams either by every other in a line or simply by counting out rhymes.

Ages 3-9 the game has a definite ending and age 10 and up the game is reviewed to develop reflection, calm and a more conscious ending.

The children participate in the set up and breaking down and putting away of equipment as a part of taking responsibility and having ownership of the game.

Regarding Bullies, Targets and Bystanders During Recess Games

Games reduce social and emotional challenges amongst children by providing structure and rules of engagement, channeling aggression, creating positive interactions and requiring cooperation.

However if bullying does occur:

Quickly defuse the incident, and take attention away from it.

Otherwise further polarization will occur. Instead focus on the feelings and the implications involved.

Do not punish or blame the bully. This will only increase the isolation and pressure on the victim so that the bully becomes more hidden and a reporting culture does not develop.

Don’t berate the bully in front of her peers. This will only gain her status and reinforced her ‘bad girl’ image.

Don’t spend hours talking. Design fun, small group activities that the bully, victim and a couple of friends can take part in and listen to the children’s ideas of how they think they can make things better.

Give the bully a role in games to use strength to protect the weaker; overweight child can be the anchor in Tug of War, small children can be quick in chasing games, slow thinkers respond to games illustrated first, more intellectual and withdrawn will be a good observer and guard.

The main purpose of not ‘blaming’ a bully is that a culture of ‘telling’ needs to be cultivated throughout the school and the community.

Anyone who sees bullying (bystander) or is being bullied (target), needs to feel they can speak up, ‘report’ and know that they will not be persecuted for doing so. This can only be achieved if all concerned know they are safe and respected by teachers and parents; and that the issue will be dealt with thoroughly.

End Note Feet are forming to shoes and their walk to the cushioned heel. Shoes that mold the feet and arches can lead to less strength and flexibility and compromise up the body to ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Barefooted games increase flexibility and strength of feet and subsequently overall health.

EBIPS the Awesome Parenting Apps – Click Daisy Emotional Behavioral Intellectual Physical & Social. Understand your children’s developmental milestones, newborn through ten, Take pics, document and organize in albums and slideshows.


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