The Science of Parenting

It Takes Some Energy | S. 3 Ep. 5

September 04, 2020 Season 3 Episode 5
The Science of Parenting
It Takes Some Energy | S. 3 Ep. 5
Chapters
The Science of Parenting
It Takes Some Energy | S. 3 Ep. 5
Sep 04, 2020 Season 3 Episode 5

Do long car rides give you pause because of fidgety kids? Or maybe vacation days when the kids are dragging due to too many activities? Learn to strike a happy medium by doing a deep dive into how natural energy affects behavior.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Show Notes Transcript

Do long car rides give you pause because of fidgety kids? Or maybe vacation days when the kids are dragging due to too many activities? Learn to strike a happy medium by doing a deep dive into how natural energy affects behavior.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Mackenzie Johnson:

Hey, welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast. We're here live today, this beautiful Thursday, or at least it's beautiful here in Northwest Iowa.

Lori Hayungs:

Welcome!

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, our first live of season three!

Lori Hayungs:

I know, you were saying that earlier, and I was thinking, "What? It is? Really?"

Mackenzie Johnson:

The first one! We've been talking temperament on our other podcasts and now yeah. Coming at you live to talk about activity level. We always love to start out by talking about some of our beliefs here as a team and as an organization at the science of parenting. Our first belief is that we believe in a pluralistic approach to parenting, is what we call it, basically just means we think there's more than one way to raise great kids and like, Hey, secret to the sauce, temperament a big part of that. Part of theeason that we believe in a pluralistic approach to parenting. We also believe that our job is to provide research based trustworthy information. Uh , but ultimately parents are the experts on their family and their children. So you get to decide how this information fits your own family. And then our final belief is that we are parenting educators and that some parent-child relationships may require additional support, and so we always encourage people to seek out those local professionals , um, in their communities.

Lori Hayungs:

We do. Absolutely. And then we like to cover a few ground rules because we are live. So a couple of ground rules we have are that this is a judgment free zone. So we want to ensure that there's no blaming or shaming while we're live and hanging out with each other. So that's our very first, and , um, I would say it's a really, really important ground rule. And then second, we want to make sure that as you comment, that you're really focusing on your own reality. It's real easy for us to sometimes think, "Oh, I wish so and so would hear this," or, "Oh, I know someone who needs to understand," this and we just want you to focus on, you know , what's real in your world. And then the third one is really important to Mackenzie and Mackenzie and I, and that is that we reserve the right to pass on answering certain questions, especially certain personal questions. Um , and then we will bring in Mackenzie DeJong, she's our producer, and she has some logistical information for you.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Hi, everybody.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're muted Kenz, we'd love to hear you.

Mackenzie DeJong:

So many buttons to push, so many buttons to push. Hi everybody. That's what I said. We are doing things a little bit different today, so I'm just trying to figure it all out and yeah. So, hi , um, welcome to The Science of Parenting. Just some of the background information, because I , because like I said, we are doing things a little differently today. I want to give you a heads up. If you are trying to comment, you might get a like, "Hey, you have to give us permission." Um, so that we can use your comments, and it actually makes it easier on me to use your comments on our lives here. I can just click on your comment. It pops it right in.

Mackenzie Johnson:

A nd you get credit for your comment so we know who said it.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes. Um, we are supposed to have closed captioning on this as part of what we're doing right now. I'm not seeing it, so I might have to look a little more into that, but hopefully either you'll see close captioning now or afterward, we'll make sure it's on there as soon as we can get it up. Um , and just remember as you're, as we're going through this, leave us comments, ask questions , um , just as you're doing that, keep those ground rules in mind, be nice. Uh, and thanks to Barbara Dunn-Swanson who moderates those and responds to pretty much everything. She's awesome. So those are, those are just kind of my thoughts for right now. If I think of something later, I'll pop back in and let you know.

Lori Hayungs:

Thank you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Excellent. So let's kick this off, excited to talk activity level. So, welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast. Again. Where we will connect you with research based information that fits your family. We are going to talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I am Mackenzie Johnson. I'm a parent of two little kids that have their own quirks, and I'm a parenting educator.

Lori Hayungs:

And I'm Lori Hayungs and I'm a parent of three in three different life stages. One is launched. One is in college and one is in high school and I am also a parenting educator.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And today we're digging back in with temperament and talking about a trait that I know is pretty near and dear to Lori's heart, activity level. I'll say, I feel like I've said my favorite trait is a lot of them, but this is one that I know is one of your favorites .

Lori Hayungs:

It is one of my favorites. So first of all, just a quick reminder about what temperament is and what it isn't before we start. So, temperament is our predisposition to how we react. It has always been there. It's genetic. It was there before we even started to show our parents what we were going to be like. And if we think of it as the foundation to our personality, that kind of helps us as we go through. And so, as you look at temperament being the foundation, then what we do is we layer on top of that foundation, child growth and development, our environment that we grow up in how we were parented, and how people respond to us and our environment. And that's what shapes our personality along the way. But temperament has always been there and think way back to that nursery in the hospital and those children, as you look through all those bassinets, their temperament is already coming through. So that's where we're framing our temperament with parenting in our season this fall, the session. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right now.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Right now.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So we are basing our podcast series on temperament on a lot of the research from both Thomas and Chess who are kind of some of the original temperament researchers, as well as research from , um, Jim Kaiser, or, Jim Cameron at Kaiser Permanente and his colleagues, you know, they've been doing temperament research for over 30 years, following thousands of kids' temperament profiles. And kind of what we learned is that everybody gets all nine traits, right? Uh, this research looks at the nine temperament traits. The question is, did I get a little of this trade or did I get a lot? And did my child get a little, or did my child get a lot? And so we kind of navigate where we fall on that continuum of those temperament traits. So we're exploring those. And of course, if you are joining us live , and this is maybe the first time you caught us in season three, we have lots of awesome temperament resources on our Science of Parenting page. You can find that as scienceofparenting.org, so you can go find , um, places you can actually complete a temperament profile. You can find resources, our previous blogs, our previous episodes, all the good stuff there on our website. But for today, we're going to talk about temperament or -again- it's temperament, we're going to talk about -

Lori Hayungs:

It's so different that we're doing this live. And we've been doing so many about temperament. Like, Oh my gosh, we are finally here. So today we're talking about activity level, right? So what is this definition of activity level? And, you know, it's kind of one of those traits that I think we probably can all see literally in our head, right this very minute when I say the word activity and yes, it is about movement. Um , and that's what Jim Cameron and his associates at Kaiser talk about. That movement that we all have, that internal movement that need to , um, to move, be active. What's our energy level? And as we look at that, and we think about how Thomas and Chess talked about it, they talked about it being the natural energy that we all have. So what is our natural energy when it comes to needing to move? Well, some children sit quietly and others are constantly on the go and some saunter slowly while others may fidget endlessly. And that's when we look at temperament as a natural energy wheat , we all have a natural energy, right? And that's just part of who we are. And as we look at activity level throughout the next hour, I really want you to think about the fact that we all have this natural energy. And it's really important to think about how a child's natural energy is impacting our parenting. So I want you to , in the comments, think about that natural energy. And what do you think of when you think of activity level and how might you explain it? So Mackenzie , how might you explain it?

Mackenzie Johnson:

So I tend to have a lower activity level. Um , actually that's another one of my traits. A lot of my traits seem to fall in the extremes. This one is one that I am a lot lower on. And , um, but so I, from my low activity level, tend to perceive sometimes activity level is like antsy . It's like, okay , I don't want to - after we eat dinner, I don't want to , I don't want to sit here and chat. I want to , I want to go. I want to... well, I don't want to, people who have an active temperament, sometimes do that. So I think of that kind of like antsy and , um, the "got places to be" and, you know, so I think of that antsy kind of versus like more relaxed are kind of the words that I think on either end of that continuum.

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah. Uh, so I used one of the words that I think about when I envision activity level is that saunter, you know, just that, that kind of slow roll versus the speed walker. So, you know, Speedy Gonzalez the mouse in the cartoons, right. So sauntering versus speed. Those are the two things I think of with activity level.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love that. Well, and that really - it does kind of demonstrate our continuum. Right? Little did we get a lot? And, you know, we kinda like to walk through, what's it look like? You know, we understand what the trait is. Some people are going to be on the extreme or lower end. Some most are going to be in the middle actually. And then some are going to be on the higher end. And so as we think about that continuum where we fall, where our kids fall , um, you know, we like to explore that a little bit, understand this temperament trait a little bit better. Uh , but before Lori explains the kinds of end of the continuum to us, I do want to kind of take a second take pause. This episode is about the normal range of temperament , um , of activity level for children. So we're talking about typical development , um, kind of temperaments, this normal range of a highly active to less active , uh, we're not speaking specifically about attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder or ADHD or any , um , kind of specific medical diagnosis. We're specifically talking about temperament. So , uh, Lori , with that in mind, can you give us kind of the lowdown , the low down on the lower end of the activity continuum.

Lori Hayungs:

And you know, one thing I'm not sure that we've pointed out particularly is this idea of the continuum percentages, and you did a really good job of sharing that idea that there is a range of activity level. And so what research tells us is there might be about 15 to 20% of us who have a less active temperament. And then we have this larger range in the middle, you know, 60 to 70%, and then 15 to 20% of us who have a higher activity level. Now, again, like you said, the higher active temperament is not a medical diagnosis of ADHD. There's just a natural range of energy. So yeah, let's start with the less active child. So if we look at a child who has less activity level, again, this might be the child who, you know, is sauntering. They're content to sit and read a book. Uh , they maybe didn't crawl as early or roll as early. They just have less natural energy. Uh, and it's important to really not label these children as lazy. They just naturally have less energy. They may be carefully watching people and things around them, observing, taking it all in. Um, they're hearing it, they're listening to it, they're interacting and waking, but all of those things pull energy from them. And so they're just going to be typically doing things at a slower pace. They're content to sit and watch y'all run around. Okay. And , that's okay.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And by y'all you mean Lori.

:

That's okay! So in the chat, why don't you share some examples of a less active child.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Or if you have questions about, you know, a less active adult or child's temperament , um, we'll take those too in the chat. Uh , but I actually have an example from , um, we have some close friends that we've kind of, our kids are around the same age. And so we've spent a lot of time together, you know, in the past , um, with our kids together and when they're together and playing, I feel like I can really see the difference in their activity level. They play pretty well together. Uh , but the difference in that my friend's little guy has a lower activity level. And so when they would come over to our house, you know, it might be the kids playing together and their son, might, you know, play on the floor with a toy for awhile . And then he might take a couple trips, a couple of strolls around the house with the grocery cart . Then he might crawl up in mom or dad's lap and just sit there for a while with a stuffed animal while we were just chatting. Um, you know, he didn't necessarily have that need to have big movement . It wasn't that he wasn't doing anything or he was just laying around. Um, he just, wasn't in a big hurry. He wasn't antsy. And so, yeah, not that he's never active, but his body didn't necessarily have that need , uh, to get going. He's pretty content to feel relaxed.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. Exactly. So moving onto the other end of the continuum, the higher activity child, the highly active child. And when we think about that, I like that word antsy because to me that shares that idea that there is this natural energy inside.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Trying to bubble out.

Lori Hayungs:

Right. It does bubble out. And , and for those of us with a higher activity level, like we can't control those bubbles, they just keep escaping. And as we think about that, we know that the highly active child, they might use their whole body , uh , to feel good, and that energy is releasing from their whole body. These children might learn with their whole body and they're touching and feeling, and they're maybe solving problems with their limbs. Right. And so I love what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says in her book, "Raising Your Spirited Child." She says, these children cannot walk through a doorway without jumping up to touch the doorframe . So true. Like I literally can think about my 15 year old doing that before she left school for school this morning. Boom. Right. It's the doorframe. And so as we look that, and we look at the child who has a higher activity level, we really need to look at things from their perspective, you know, what is it that they see around them for their body to reach out and touch and create action around? What can they expend their energy around? And that really becomes important when we look at this continuum. Think especially about the highly active infant and toddler, what did they see down at their level? Because those are the things that they're going to move towards when it comes to using their -

Mackenzie Johnson:

And climb on!

Lori Hayungs:

Right! And yes, move towards and climb on when using their body. So in the chat, why don't you put some ideas or thoughts or things that you have seen when it comes to a highly active child?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so my example in contrast to our friend's little guy, my daughter tends to be a highly active child. And so yeah, you're saying the early milestones. Yes. My daughter was an early walker and I swear like days after she learned to walk, she was running. Um , she was , she was in a hurry. She had places to go. So yes, she has a very active temperament. And so even watching them play, you know, side by side with our friend, she was the kid who she had the stroller or the grocery cart and was going round and round. And she was, she had places to be and using that her body and like with big movements felt good to her. Right. It helps her release that energy instead of taking energy from her. I even think she was the kid that when we would take trips together with our kids, their little guy maybe would ride in the wagon or the stroller. And my daughter absolutely thought that would be the worst. She needed to be able to walk and move around. And so again, that's one of those reasons there wasn't a right way to bring our kids to the pumpkin patch or a wrong way. It was what our specific kids needed. I can even think of a time we took a couple mile walk without realizing it with our three year old. Our daughter was three and she walked a couple miles with us that day. And I was like, Oh, okay. I guess like , all right . You're active, that makes sense.

Lori Hayungs:

You know, as we think about our children's temperament and activity level, then we need to think about what is ours. And remember it it's genetic . So we, we had the, to get them some of the activity level. Um , but what, what differences are there or similarities between their temperament activity level and our temperament activity level. And I think that for myself, having three children and having three girls, my activity level and my youngest daughter's activity level probably match. Right. So when it comes to things like going to the mall or going shopping, she and I can meet pace to pace. And here we go, zoom, we're zooming through the mall . We're speed walking. And my other two , uh , you know, my oldest and my middle daughter, they're kind of sauntering along, checking things out. And, and that's, you know, that can maybe cause some tensions between us sometimes, or, you know, maybe my youngest daughter and I, we just go and say, "we'll meet you back here in..." Right. And that's not wrong.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And then yes, in my family, I tend to have a lower activity level. Um, my son tends to be a little more mid range according to his temperament profile. And I feel like we're still kind of learning that he's just kind of hitting this toddler stage. Um , so yes , his mid level kind of activity. He's not hitting the same early milestones of my daughter, which is a whole other thing. Um, but I think we'll touch on, but , um , my husband tends to be very active. And so my highly active daughter and highly active husband , um, sometimes there is a little, little clash of our expectations around activities. So, Oh , well, so we bring in Mackenzie here and see what examples people have, and um, all those things we'd love to hear from them .

Mackenzie DeJong:

Alright . So to start, the first question you asked, I, we do have quite a few questions listed that way . So we have a lot of responses and we also have a lot of questions that we've asked. So there's a lot of comments, so I'll kind of flip through them quickly. So the first thing we said was to explain the trait and Donna, I had it and now it's disappeared on me... Oh, here we go. This was the good one. Uh, maybe laid back to hyper that , that, that range talking about going from laid back to a hyper person, so I like that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think hyper is a common word.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Someone else said hyper comes to mind.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah hyper comes to mind, Heidi saying it too. Yeah .

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes. So then we talked about examples of a low activity child and Dawn says she has three and they do have different activity levels. Um ,

Lori Hayungs:

Oh, I love these comments. Yeah .

Mackenzie DeJong:

Isn't it fun that you can see who's commenting it, too?

Lori Hayungs:

Yes I can see them!

Mackenzie DeJong:

Cassie says her five month old niece will not let you hold her, hold her sitting down. She likes to move and see things. And I've actually been talking to Cassie about this and she said, she's like scooting and everything at five months already because she has such high activity level. And her dad, dad is a very active guy too. So yeah .

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah . My daughter, my daughter wanted to face out as an infant.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Face them out as you feed them. Absolutely. I love this one that says, what about the active, the active, physical, the active someone who is physically a fidgety and mentally sauntering. Oh yeah. You know, the brain can't catch up with the body. Love that. Yes. Yes. So we might catch some of that too Donna.

Mackenzie DeJong:

ifI was going to say, if you wanted to address that. Um, somebody says middle has a low activity level, didn't roll until nine months loves to just sit and play by herself , read to herself and sit and draw pictures. But her oldest needs to be moving and jumping around all the time. That's one of the, and then, and then youngest is a happy medium. So yeah. Definitely seeing different kids in the same family. Yeah. Different traits.

Mackenzie Johnson:

All along that continuum, Liz, right.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Someone with a high activity level might pace when they talk.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Lori!

Mackenzie DeJong:

Jody says her daughter jumps a nd flips all over the furniture. And if you've been following the Spend Smart. Eat Smart., they did the FitFam Friday and her daughter definitely was all over the place. That was awesome.

Lori Hayungs:

That was great . I love these. All right .

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yeah, let's move along.

Lori Hayungs:

Should we move to the ages and stages?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Let's do it. All right. Let's flip to them . So yes . So one thing we do always like to kind of walk through, we know, right at different times in our kids' lives, there's going to be times when their particular developmental task because of their age. Right. We know that infants are really not learning to navigate the world and toddlers are using their body. You know, now that they have a little more physical control. And so because of the age, kids are at, there's some developmental tasks they're working on that may rely specifically on this activity level, right. This temperament trait. Um, so, and that's because of that at certain times, we might really see, right, their activity level as an asset to what's going on, or we might see their activity level as kind of a liability. So let's walk through what this temperament trait might look at across the different ages. So let's start with those infants, those little babies.

Lori Hayungs:

All right . So let's start there. We did hint a little bit to this that they might be a highly active infant, might be the child that hits some of their early milestones, their physical milestones early , uh , the rolling, the standing, the crawling, where the less active infant, again, they might just be content to hang out and watch everyone around the house, move around while they sit in the middle of the floor. And I chuckle sometimes because the first time parent, right? So we're so into, when is our baby gonna walk? When is our big going to crawl? We gotta write it down in the baby book. And, and when it comes to temperament and activity level, that's going to be a huge part of when they meet that milestone. And then as you talked to parents of second and third children, you know, they're thinking, but please let this child be less active because I need them to sit in the middle of the floor while I get all these things done with the first child. Right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So then it's an asset Because of their birth order.

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. And I think that sometimes I think it's important to understand this part of the activity temperament trait , um, that it's just like, it's a difference in your kids, right? We don't necessarily need to experience that shame. I can say for myself, having my first be very active, she walked early and I'm not kidding when I say she was running very soon after she walked. Um, you know, versus my son is, it's almost six months later or, you know, between four, if I can math. Four and six months later, he's kind of just getting to walking. Um, but his natural activity level is much lower. Um, and so I have had concerns and made myself feel bad and it's like, okay , this is a part of their temperament.

Lori Hayungs:

It is. And it's that, that part of 'made myself feel bad,' that when we understand temperament, we can take some of that 'made myself feel bad' out of things. We don't need to do that to ourselves. We have enough tough stuff in parenting without the 'made myself feel bad.' So let's look at toddlers. So you look at a toddler with less active temperament, you know, similar things, but think about toddlers in general. Okay. So developmentally toddlers can now walk, run, climb, and move in ways they weren't able to just 12 months before. So developmentally toddlers move. Okay. So you have a less active mover and a more active mover. Mover is in both definitions, right? So you look at that toddler. It's really important then to think about what does that little two foot person see? So if you have a less active toddler, they may not be the toddler that is going to rapidly run across the room and rock climb the bookshelf. Now they might eventually rock climb the bookshelf, but the highly active toddler, they are looking around their environment and they are seeking ways to use their energy. They might use the couch as a trampoline. They might use the coffee table as a cliffhanging device. They might use all of these things are for their active involvement. And so as a parent, we really need to get down to about two, two and a half feet and figure out what is it that they see that we need to understand their activity level and energy is going to be expended on.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I even think on the lower end of that continuum. Right? So if you have a highly active mover, they might be rock climbing and all those things inside our house. But you know, you're less active child. Yeah. I even think of like on a walk, that's the thing we kind of like to do with the family. Yeah. Our more active child wants... doesn't want to be in the stroller as a toddler, wants to go ahead is in a hurry. Our less active child just might be good with the stroller or might just kind of like that saunter where you might want to just like walk alongside us and hold their hand instead of run ahead. Right?

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Yes. All right .

Mackenzie Johnson:

So what as we think about moving into like preschool and school, you know, a lot of times they're working on learning those social rules and learning how to follow expectations, right? How does this activity level play out there?

Lori Hayungs:

When we look at what are children doing, as they move into formal education, they're being asked to sit, stand still in a line. They're being asked to control their energy, right? And so when we look at activity level and you think about the less active child who's in preschool or elementary school, they might have an easier time of circle time or sitting at their desk or standing in line without poking anyone. And that's just because of their natural energy. The highly active child in that same formal setting, they might be fidgeting. They might be rolling around in circle time. They might be falling out of their chair and their desk . They might be bumping people with their elbows or stepping on people's toes in line. And the thing to remember is they're not intentionally trying to annoy everyone or make you upset or defy you. Their energy is literally bubbling out of all of the pores of their body.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love when you say comes out of their fingertips and their toes, like you don't let it out. It'll just come out.

Lori Hayungs:

It will come out somewhere. And so as you think about developmentally, they're having to learn how to capture those bubbles before they jump out of their body. Right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Mmhmm. So the kid that has to run around at recess versus the kid that might be all right to, I mean, do something like chalk or just kind of sit . Right. It looks different on different ends. Okay. And what about these older kids? So looking at kind of these preteens and teens, where might this activity level play out?

Lori Hayungs:

As we think about what those children are beginning to experience... a lot of social interactions, independent socially with their friends , um , independently choosing activities to do where no more it's us choosing their activity, they're choosing their own. And based on the choices of their activity, they suddenly might find that their social interactions change. So their friend group might suddenly be changing because their energy level is different. And all of a sudden the less active child is now choosing things like archery or gaming, or just hanging out with friends on the couch, watching TV and movies and board games. And there are other friends that they use to play with are saying, well, why don't you ever want to do anything anymore?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Why you want to go to practice? Shouldn't we ride our bikes across town? Yeah.

Lori Hayungs:

Because those are the things a things I'm a more highly active temperament are going to choose. They're going to choose those activities that are quicker in spurts and running and , and, and basketball. And you know, those types of things where they're, they're out, there's energy being spent. So their social groups might change because of their natural energy.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I even think I, So, like I have a lower activity level, like I shared, and I did a lot of those active things, but I think about the amount of time I needed to refresh, like, Oh my gosh, I had a, we had some kind of tournament all day yesterday. I'm wiped. Like the next day I have nothing left, you know, versus some of my more active friends were like, they were refreshed because we had such a big day. And so that is, it's a difference in like, no , I don't want to hang out today. Like , I don't want to go do something I want to....

Lori Hayungs:

It is. Yes!

Mackenzie Johnson:

And so part of how we think about understanding, you know, our kids at these different ages and even ourselves and our own temperament on this continuum, we talk about this term, goodness of fit, right? That's what , um , Chess and Thomas have referred to it as, and it's kind of understanding and supporting our kids' natural tendencies. We don't want to blame and shame our kids, right? It's not their fault they have an active temperament or a less active temperament. Um , it's not our fault, right,,that they have what they have. And so we don't need to blame and shame. And so taking that time to understand their temperament and to accommodate it can actually, one, help make our job easier, which is like, I'm all about that in parenting. But it also can bring out the best in both of us. You know, we want to begin to understand that temperament and it can even help us prevent difficult behavior. Right. We can anticipate like, okay, they are highly active. They're going to feel crazy after riding in the car, we need to plan something so somebody can be active . Um , or if we have a big day planned, we need to make sure we have breaks , right. So we can anticipate some of those things. So looking again at your child's temperament and your own might be similar, right? Temperament is genetic. Uh, but it could also be different because there's two parents, right. They get that genetic stuff from more than one person. And so sometimes those differences or those similarities , um , can cause a clash.

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly. There might be times where you find yourself saying, will you please hurry up? Or on the other side, I'm tired. I'm done playing ball as the parent . And remember there is no good or bad temperament in each trait like we've talked about, has the assets and liabilities and beginning to appreciate and work with is what is really important. We can predict how our child might behave based on their temperament. We can plan for their temperamental needs. Um, you talked about the break and I love how you said earlier when we were chatting, a break for a highly active child is not sitting and reading a book. A break for that particular child is taking a spin around the house. Right .

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right. Okay, this is my break from the thing.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. What is the break? The break looks different. And so imagine a family with several children who possess different temperaments and it's kind of this fine dance. I love that Barb Dunn-Swanson said, it's a fine dance to meet the needs of the child and making sure that we provide enough enrichment for all of them while at the same time, not blaming or shaming, but providing support and encouragement as we teach them how to work with what they gave them. Right. So we're not saying, Oh, well you have a highly active temperament. So we're going to accommodate all these things. No, we're going to actually teach you some tools because at times, Lori , you need to sit still.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Only at times.

Lori Hayungs:

Someone along the way has to teach Lori how to sit still. And then Lori can still appreciate that she has a highly active temperament, but find a way to sit still.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so we do, we have these strategies. And one of the things that I think is really important as a parent to understand like, okay, these strategies, all right , my child has a highly active temperament. I don't. Woof. Yeah, woof. Well , so we want to take a second to see what's wonderful. Sometimes, especially depending on the stages they're in, right. Or if there's a clash in your goodness of fit, that it might feel really big, right. This activity trait might feel huge, the difference that you have. And so what's wonderful about that trait can kind of help us take pause for a second. Um, and so I do I want to ask everybody in the chat, you know, what do you see as something wonderful about a child that has a lower activity level? Or what do you see that's wonderful about a child with a higher activity level? You know, there are positive things associated with all ends and in the middle of the continuum , um, with that activity level. So I want to ask you to share a few of those that are wonderful. And I want to ask Lori , uh , kind of her point of view here. So what's wonderful about these, about this trait on all the ends?

Lori Hayungs:

So, I feel like sometimes we... no, I'll say this... Sometimes I, how about that? Sometimes I , uh , shame myself for my highly active temperament. And so I find it's easier for me to say what's wonderful about the less active temperament, because I so want to have those things come naturally to me and they don't. So that idea of sauntering, that idea of slowing down and taking it in , uh , like I think that is wonderful about the less active temperament trait. And I'm gonna defer to you for what's wonderful about the highly active temperament trait!

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well , one thing I have noticed about my daughter that I've, I'm kind of honing this skill. I actually used it the other day. Um, so because my daughter's natural tendency is big movement, right. High energy. Um, when she does have a chance to move her body, she doesn't need much else for entertainment. Right. So like at the park, she's good to just go , um , at the swimming pool, she was good to get to just go. Um , and so we didn't necessarily need to have a lot of stuff for her when she did have the opportunity to move her body. Um, so I'd see that as something wonderful about someone with an active temperament in those spaces and in those places where we're allowed to have big movement , they thrive. Um, and I just think that's incredibly impressive. Um, I even think of you the way that you can like, do the stuff and wander around and all those things, and you come back and you're like fully energized and I'm like, that was exhausting and you're like ready to go. Um , so I do see that as a wonderful trait. Um, and I would say I'm going to sneak into a little bit of strategies here, because we do want to talk about now that we understand this temperament, how do we utilize it? Um, one thing that I actually just did with my highly active daughter just this week , um, we had , uh, an appointment and we had to wait outside before we could go in. And I noticed there was some kind of big rocks , um , kind of spread out outside kind of in the landscaping. Um , not next to anything that looked too sensitive. Right. Um , but instead of waiting in the car with my highly active daughter who was already a little nervous to go to the doctor, we got out, we walked on the rocks. Um, it was something she would get some of that movement and some of that angst out of her body, right. It was going to come at her fingers and toes or her tears in the doctor's office. Instead, we were able to kind of use that big activity level , um , to get her moving that way. So, yes . Hey, Hey!

Mackenzie DeJong:

Hi, I'm jumping in because we have so many comments and questions, well, comments that I didn't want to wait. And I know that the listeners don't know this, that it's not scheduled yet, but I'm jumping in any way . I figured that was a good break. So we , we had a few comments that were actually, funny enough, about goodness of fit without them like, meaning to be about goodness of fit.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah?

Mackenzie DeJong:

So Kim said, "we know why we have needed arguments in our family, different temperaments between parent child and between parents," which is that goodness of fit, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah . It's difference in activity level . Some are ready to go and some are like, what's the hurry?

Mackenzie DeJong:

Right? And then Donna said, "makes me think about when we try to snuggle and hold infants that are content with that. And some are struggling to get out of our arms," that goodness of fit again, I can't hold onto every single baby. Sometimes they just gotta be on the floor to roll around. And then what was the other one that , uh, sorry, I, this is, are so many comments, I can hardly keep up with it.

Lori Hayungs:

Cindy!

Mackenzie DeJong:

I will. I'll go back .

Lori Hayungs:

My book climber is now your firefighter...

Mackenzie DeJong:

Lori's jumping ahead on me! Uh , Scott or Heidi said a family that visited younger, less active sibling got tired quickly because the older sibling was constantly moving toys. That's a goodness of fit kind of between, between kiddos.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, siblings.

Mackenzie DeJong:

So then I was going to next say. Yes . Cindy's comment. My book climber, is now a volunteer firefighter and plans to make a career out of it. That is such a, like 'what's wonderful" and seeing the positive in that. That is so awesome. And yeah, being able to recognize that those two correlate is like super cool. Um, Donna says one of her active grandkids became the athlete. Um, "we struggled last year..." Oh, this was a little bit of a goodness of fit as well. "We struggled last year. Kindergarten teacher struggled with the highly ," uh , "Lower activity. The grandchild is the gamer." I feel like this is more of the me. I watch a lot of YouTube videos and play video games and stuff.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Like I love a board game night. I'd rather have a board game night than an active. Love these.

Mackenzie DeJong:

"The curiosity and willingness to try things in the active child," you know, that kind of plays into some other temperament traits. But I see how that plays into activity as well.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. I love what Mackenzie DeJong said. Um , Heidi, Mackenzie talked about the highly active temperament being ready for adventure. Yes. So yes. So that curiosity and willingness is that adventurer.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And then we'll do this one as the last one , uh, "Appreciate the energy. He motivates me and then lower, I enjoy her peacefulness and her ability to entertain herself."

Lori Hayungs:

Peaceful, I love that description.

Mackenzie DeJong:

There were just so many, I had to share all of them, I'm sorry.

Lori Hayungs:

This is great. So when we look at all of this kind of that takeaway is that we can influence our child's temperament, correct. So we can influence, we can teach them tips and techniques, but that root level is not likely going to change. And as the adults , well, it's up to us to then adjust our expectations and also recognize they might be different for each child. And so that each child has different gifts and temperament, and we might have to adjust our expectations for each child.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And I think that's kind of where we come into these strategies. And again, that pluralistic approach to parenting, there's more than one way to raise great kids because your oldest child, like somebody shared your oldest child may need to get that energy out. They want lots of activities to be in. They need a chance to run around after school versus your less active child may come home exhausted from school and need a break. And so, yes, there's a difference in how we raise our kids. And so we're going to look at some of these strategies and , um, I thought it was very appropriate. I'm going to let Lori share some high energy strategies. So parenting kids with a high energy level, and then I'll share some for a child that maybe has a lower energy level.

Lori Hayungs:

All right . Sounds good. So as we look at the highly active child and through all the lifespan , uh, you know, through the infant toddler, through the teenage, through the young adults , even, and we think about activity level, I think about how do we teach tools and techniques for those times when we need that child to remain in one place, we need that child to stand in a line. And again, thinking about they have this natural energy and it needs to come out somehow some way shape or form. So how can we give them tools, tips, and techniques to have that energy come out, but like really no one else around knows it's coming out. So a couple of things that we can think about is we could plan for movement and it just happens to be an errand that we need run. And maybe they're the child that comes up to the front of the classroom and holds the cue card. Maybe they're the child that does the errand down the hallway for the teacher. Maybe they're the child that brings the garbage basket around for everyone to drop their wrappers in. And that child is , is okay being the person that does that every single time. And that's fair, even, because that child needs the opportunity to expend the energy. Maybe they're the child that puts napkins around the whole table. They're the child that runs up the steps with the socks.

Mackenzie Johnson:

My daughter is absolutely the person in our family, when we like forget a condiment at supper or something, she's the- she's gonna run to the fridge and get it. It feels good for her to get up and run and grab that before we are expected to sit at the table.

Lori Hayungs:

And it feels good. I love that you just said that. It feels good. It's not a negative chore. She just got demoted . And is now the runner to the kitchen fridge? No, no, no. She's actually enjoying the opportunity to get up off her chair. And , and we think about , um , that their default is movement. So planning for movement, allowing them the opportunity. Another thing that I've shared with parents over time is the older children, teaching them to write the alphabet in their shoes with their toes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love that.

Lori Hayungs:

You really have to sit still. So I'm going to write the alphabet in my shoe with my toes, or I'm going to twiddle my thumbs. Um , I'm going to sit on my hands and play the piano on my leg. You know, those types of things aren't bothering anyone else, but they're still allowing that energy to bubble out of my fingertips and toes. Right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love those.

Lori Hayungs:

Sometimes I would twitch my nose. You know, I would wiggle my nose because I was like, okay , I need to be, right. And so, you know, me, I'm the one that's standing in the back of the room during a meeting. I have a standing desk and I'm always speaking with my hands. And so teaching our children that you don't have to sit statue still. You can take breaths, deep breathe, and find ways to move your body inside, inside your shoe, inside your pocket. So those are the parenting strategies for the highly active child.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. I love that. So planning for movement and finding ways they can move when the expectations are to kind of be seated or... Love those. So I think of with our less activity , um, or our less active children. Um, if their default of the active child is movement, the default of the less active child , you know , might be at rest. And so I think if I even think about , you know, when you would like plan a big day, it'll like go to the zoo or something to go somewhere where there might be a lot of activity for your active child, right. That day can be very exciting. Um, and all of those things getting their energy out, but you're less active child, may be wiped, right? And so you want to plan for breaks, right? The idea is that we can anticipate with their temperament. So we can anticipate that our active child might really love to run along and run ahead and we can anticipate our less active child might do better in the wagon, right? Might do better riding in the stroller, even if your younger child wants to walk. And the older child that's less active might do better in a wagon. Right. That's okay.

Lori Hayungs:

That's okay!

Mackenzie Johnson:

That is okay. And so, you know, I even think with our older kids on that same example with the zoo, your less active kid might be the kid that's all right to sit on a bench in the aquarium section and just watch for awhile . Um, and so the second strategy that I like to look at, so plan for breaks, understand, right ? Those kinds of things. I like to talk about splitting the energy. Um, and so I, I don't remember if I even shared, my husband has a more active temperament. Like my daughter, I tend to be a little lower and my son is kind of mid range. But so like, I think of days when we have big active days as parents, we kind of split our energy, right. My husband enjoys, his body feels good when they're kind of running ahead. And that may be running from spot to spot with my highly active daughter. My body feels a little better to kind of be at rest , um, right. To, to saunter. I like that word, Lori , I'm going to cling to that word, to saunter. I might wander through the things and take a little more time. And that might be what feels good for me. And so thinking about splitting the energy and even if it's not with a co-parent, right. Maybe if you have an highly active day planned with friends that have kids, it's okay if you're splitting that, if somebody feel somebody's body feels good to push the kids on the swing at the park and run around and chase them to the slides, that's all right if that's what feels good for their body, and if your body feels good to hang out closer to, you know, one of the smaller activity places where they're digging in the sand or , um, if it feels good to sit on the bench in the aquarium, there's no shame. You know, one parent's not better than the other, the one who's chasing around. I feel like sometimes there's some shame around that. Um , the parent who's sitting down and taking it in with a child is also being an active and like attentive parent .

Lori Hayungs:

Absolutely.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Split that energy as well as planning for both breaks and activity.

Lori Hayungs:

I love that. All right . Should we bring her back in? I want to see, I want to see.

Mackenzie Johnson:

What does everyone else have to say? Maybe some strategies...

Mackenzie DeJong:

They've been, they've been a little more quiet this round. So I'm like, oh man!

Mackenzie Johnson:

We had so many things to say!

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes, so I did want to bring in this comment that was from before. But as I sat here and read it, I was like, Oh, it's so good. Talking about that low activity level, sitting outside and just talking , um , even at four and a half have great conversations. And that a highly active kid is so good at helping his younger sister. So being that helper... I feel like I'm kinda like peeking over this... But teaching them to ride bikes , scooters , swing, all of those things. I love that, that those, those highly active kids...

Mackenzie Johnson:

Things , you find less fun!

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes, so they are using those activity levels to do things for us less active people. Um, Elizabeth also said that she loves your alphabet idea.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Wiggly toes!

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes! So I did ask the question, what other ideas or ideas you've used to help either you or your highly active or less active child acknowledge , anticipate, or accommodate like Mackenzie said, the activity level. And I think this might be useful, useful, not only, you know, if we don't get it repeated here, but if, if , uh, our parents and our caregivers, aunts, uncles, friends share that, but we can all benefit from sharing these, these tools with one another. And these ideas. Like Elizabeth liked the alphabet idea , uh , there might be something else that somebody else thinks of that one of the three of us didn't think of!

Lori Hayungs:

And it doesn't have to be complicated like Mackenzie said, her highly active daughter doesn't need a lot of tools to use her body. She jumped on the rock , she could jump up more . She can jump over a crack in the sidewalk. Sometimes that break that active child needs is a stretch break. They stand up and the reach on the tippy toes and they reach for the ceiling. And that's enough of a break that's enough to get, okay, I can handle five more minutes of standing in line. Um , and the splitting of the energies. I used to do that with my preschool partner. And so in our preschool, I did a lot of the active things and she sat back at the art table. That was a drag for me sitting at the art table. Um, and so, you know, splitting the activities by activity level. Ooh , that's a great idea.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I love that one too.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And especially at a time when there is, when there's value in both, right? If you have like a highly active time plan, can you split the energy with a friend, with the co-parent, the grandparent can tag along? Um , and I think one of the, I actually, I didn't think of this example told right now, my daughter was very anxious about picture day, last year. Um, she was having a really hard time. She's slow to warm up, which we haven't really talked about yet. We will talk about it in a future episode, and what we ended up to help her kind of get used to it, we skipped in the hallway, which there was like no other kids in the hallway, the way they had their picture day, I'd bring her in whatever. But, and then it didn't even think about it, but the moving her body helped her feel refresh and energized, you know, gave her some of that energy to prepare to handle something that is highly her high activity level. But then for me, after we had done gotten her pictures, I was like, woo , well, we did it .

Lori Hayungs:

Yes, yes, yes. I love what Elizabeth says here. My active child likes to have responsibilities. She takes out the recycling and picks up the trash. He feels fulfilled by moving and doing those things. Yes. It's not punishment. It's not demeaning chores. It's- they feel good about it. So why don't we encourage?

Mackenzie DeJong:

Get that energy out. Absolutely. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think that's a great example with chores. Oh , you know a team at work we're often like, okay, you're great at this. You do that. You're great at this. You do that. Sometimes we, for whatever reason, caution ourselves from doing that with our kids, that's a great example of you can have lots of those big active chores, 'cause that feels good for you. As opposed to you don't want to sit down and do something tedious, that your lower active child might enjoy.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And that translates as an adult. Mackenzie and I earlier were talking about painting. We both are low activity level and we love trimming.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Like I'll trim, but don't make me roll!

Speaker 1:

But like if somebody who is an active person wants to... Lori will be the roller . Mackenzie and I will trim and Lori will roll it.

Lori Hayungs:

I'll roll, please let me roll.

Mackenzie Johnson:

First of all , if you see a change in my office color, know that I'm going to makeLori come over and roll the walls.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And the rest of us are trimming, but yeah, it is that sharing that sharing activities. So, all right , I will, I will leave and we can wrap things up.

Lori Hayungs:

Awesome.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Sounds good. Okay. We have covered a lot. This is, I understand why this trait is the favorite because it is, I feel like it's often, like many temperaments traits, often misunderstood and mislabeled, and seen negatively. And there's really a lot of assets. Um, and yep, there's times when it's a liability, but a lot of great things about both the highly active, as well as t he less active.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Yeah. So where do we go from here?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, so after activity level, right? So we're about halfway, ish? How many have we covered it ? We're about halfway through these nine temperament traits. Um, but we also have some kind of special topics is what we're calling them trickled in. So in addition to covering each of these nine temperament traits, getting to know them, we're going to talk about how temperament affects certain things. And so our next episode actually has kind of a secret surprise and it's a special topic on temperament and sleep.

Lori Hayungs:

And sleep!

Mackenzie Johnson:

And sleep!

Lori Hayungs:

How does temperament affect the sleeping habits in your household?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right? Temperament is the foundation. So it's raw and it's been there. Many of us lived fully well, the temperament sitting there affecting sleep since the beginning. So next we have a surprise, but our topic is talking all about sleep. So we're very excited to explore temperament and sleep. We also have some more traits coming up this month. Adaptability, distractability. Um , all kinds of good stuff coming at you here yet in September.

Lori Hayungs:

Absolutely. So thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting. Remember, subscribe to our weekly audio podcasts on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app, and you can watch our video each week on Facebook, we record it on Facebook, drop it on Thursdays. And then every once in a while you can find us here live like you did today.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. We love taking your comments and questions. So please come along with us as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality, all around The Science of Parenting,

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full nondiscrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity. /ext.