17 answers

Keeping Hands to Self

We have been struggling with our 5 1/2YO son keeping his hands to himself at school. I am looking for positive ways or suggestions to help him learn how to keep his hands to himself. He has had a speech issue his whole life and he has been more physical than I would think to be normal. I do notice other boys his age at baseball practice doing similar things as him, but have found this to be more of an issue for him while he is at school. He will be the first one to join in if any physicalness starts. One particular behavior he has been doing is putting his hands around others necks. I do not think this has ever hurt anyone, I don't believe he is squeezing or anything, but I don't want to see him do this again. Neither me or my husband have ever put our hands around his neck, accept when hugging, so he must've picked this up from somewhere. I have been trying a sticker reward chart, and he loses a sticker if his hands go around a neck, and he just doesn't earn a sticker if he can't keep his hands to himself. His teacher said that it's too long of a time (he's there 3 1/2 hours) to only get one sticker for keeping his hands to himself the whole time at school, so we are looking for other rewards to keep him on track while at school. He's big at poking to get attention, and it appears to me that he is really just trying to get others attention, or his way of saying "look at me." His speech still isn't at where it should be, so he still gets frustrated when he feels he is misunderstood. He is very kind hearted and I do not see him as trying to be mean, he is also very sensitive, which I am thankful for, especially for his wife someday! I welcome any suggestions and questions if I haven't explained enough. Thanks in advance for your help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I wonder, if he had something like a squeeze ball to hold onto if that would give him a positive way to keep his hands busy so he wouldn't need to touch others?

by no means an expert...but just a thought- there is a book called "'The Out of Sync chld" talking about sensory intigration disorder, sometimes kids who are hypo-sensative (these kids need lots of stimulus vs. feeling overstimulated). Maybe he is acting this way, for this reason...just an idea, b/c I have a friend with a kid with that diagnosis and he does the neck grabbing all the time...good luck!

More Answers

I would talk to your child's teacher and school and request that he be evaluated by an Occupational Therapist for Sensory Integration Disorder. (You can also do that privately.) It sounds as though he really does not "get" that he's doing something wrong, which means he's probably doing it to satisfy a need that he has that's not being met. I have a nephew who would do similar things and it was really awful for everyone...awful for mom because you don't want your kid to be the kid that hits and chokes, awful for him because no one wanted to be his friend, and awful for other kids because it's scary.

With proper therapy, sensory integration can be managed and even "outgrown." My nephew is an entirely different child after therapies. You do have to get an OT who knows her stuff and is willing/able to address it. (BTW, there are I think 5 kids of "senses" in sensory integration disorder, and they're not just "hearing" "seeing" etc.)

Good luck to you and your little guy. Bless his heart.

1 mom found this helpful

I wonder, if he had something like a squeeze ball to hold onto if that would give him a positive way to keep his hands busy so he wouldn't need to touch others?

N.- oh how we wish for the best for our kids! It is not always easy to find the way that works best for each individual child but take heart and continue trying. I think talking to your son and explaining how it could hurt somebody and then giving him a positive way of touching might help. It is one of the ways I helped my son learn appropriate touches for others outside the family. My son is also sensitive and kind hearted. We worked on sign language at home too which he has picked up more now that he is older and teaches his sisters, but he does get fustrated because kids in his class don't understand what the signs are or mean. At least when he asks them to stop doing something he isn't hitting or pushing he is making the sign for stop. It then comes in handy as a family when we are out he understands from a distance when i want him to stop a certain behavior. It is a slow process that they don't really grasp fully all at once, so it may take time. Continue to work with your son and try different things something eventually will register and help him to change. Also think about speech therapy especially early on if you haven't already. easter seals is a good place that has been very friendly to us when we have gone for developmental check ups.
Be encouraged that you are not alone in dealing with this and that you guys can overcome!
A.

by no means an expert...but just a thought- there is a book called "'The Out of Sync chld" talking about sensory intigration disorder, sometimes kids who are hypo-sensative (these kids need lots of stimulus vs. feeling overstimulated). Maybe he is acting this way, for this reason...just an idea, b/c I have a friend with a kid with that diagnosis and he does the neck grabbing all the time...good luck!

You are fortunate to have a professional person working with you and your son. Unless her advice doesn't feel right to you, listen to her. My advice is not to put your thoughts and feelings into your son. So many parents try to read their children's minds and they would be better off stepping back and looking at the facts. Being very physical is normal for kids, especially those who are less able to say things with words. But you're right to be concerned about the choking action, it could come from a few different places. Start by talking calmly to your son, getting his full attention and explaining as simply as possible that he cannot do this, it is scary . Does he want to be scary? The talk can go in many directions, be accepting (I'm sure you will) and don't be shocked if he admits to some nastiness. If so, say you want to help him not to feel that way, etc. etc.

Dear N.,
You might want try giving his something good to do instead of not to do. You may be able to send him to school with a small squishy ball or a block of beeswax to work when needs his hands to do something. Also keeping his body in his own "garden" and reminding him of this will help. Good Luck!

J. O

Hi N., I too had a similar situation with my 4 year old son. If kids were playing tag, he would take it one step further and push or if they were playing "shark" with their hands, my son would use his teeth and bite. It took a while for us to figure out why he was doing it because the teachers always said it was never done in malice or anger. For him, we finally figured out he was doing it "one up" the other kids to get their attention. The preschool teacher implemented the "green, yellow and red light" chart for all of the kids (but really it was for my son and a small handful of other children). So, they started watching for any rough housing escalation (to be proactive and not reactive) and would give him a verbal warning that if he did not calm down he would get a yellow light. A red light was if he bit or pushed anyone. When I would pick him up, we would discuss the light. If he had a yellow light, we would take away one of his cars. If he would have a green light the next day, he would get the car back. If he would get a red light, all of the cars would be taken away. It would take a long time to get his cars back, since he could only earn 1 car back each day for each green light. If he had 5 green lights in a row, we would go to the store to pick up a brand new race car or get a frosty Jr. from Wendy's ($1). Now, we also talked at length about how if he chose to do things correctly in class, that the other kids would follow him. We also said if someone is behaving incorrectly, he needed to stay away. Within 1 month, everything started to fall into place and now, gosh I have not seen a yellow light since last October! Try figuring out what your childs "currency" is, for my son, it was his Nascar racecars. I was very lucky that the teachers worked with us at length to figure out the root of the problem. I truely think, by the teachers being proactive and constantly watching for any possible situations to escalate, my son learned to stop before anything happened. On the other hand, my sister's son had similar problems, but more severe and she took him to doctors. They called it a "sensory" problem, well now he is on medication and is having trouble with his liver and kidneys because it is a side affect of the medication...he is only 7 years old...so be careful on what you choose to do.

Keeping his hands busy might help him. You could teach him some sign Language and see if this doesn't only help him communicate but also will maybe keep his hand busy rather than touching another person. Keep it simple and fun. Another suggestion if you find something different he can do rather than touching others see if the teacher could put a sticker on his shirt because then it is immediate and he will see that he was doing something right at that point in time and can continue this behavior. Good luck and I hope I was able to help just a little.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.