Hey everybody, Dr. Matt here. I’m excited to dive into this topic with you all because I talk to so many parents every day that tell me their kiddos go a hundred miles an hour all day long. If your kids are going 100 miles an hour plus, redlining in their body and their nervous system, and moving around a ton, this is for you! I have four boys at home and at times it seems like my house is a never-ending race track. But my kids eventually slow down and find their groove.
If you feel like your child can’t slow down for anything and when they do have to slow down or change it up, it leads to a meltdown or behavior struggle, I’m here to tell you it’s not because of anything you’re doing as a parent.
More Brake Pedal Please!
Parenting-wise, if you’re doing everything right and your kiddo still won’t slow down, it shows that there’s not enough brake pedal to that gas pedal. The nervous system works the same in kids and adults, there are two sides to it.
We have the sympathetic side, which is commonly referred to as the gas pedal. This is the side that gets us all ramped up and the side our kids use when they go out and play sports. They’re on the sympathetic side when they have to take that test or are jumping around a bouncy house.
The opposite side is the parasympathetic side. That’s the side our kids need when they go to bed at night, have to sit still in church or in the backseat of the car waiting to get somewhere. The parasympathetic side is the patient side and we call it the brake pedal because it’s designed to slow our body down. The two sides are supposed to have a good balance.
In our world today, our kids are exposed to so much sympathetic stress. They always want to be on the go, moving and active. So when our sympathetic side is so weighed down, we need to have a really good counterbalance on that parasympathetic brake pedal side. That’s why I always use the analogy for kiddos moving too fast, they’ve probably got a Ferrari or Maserati engine, but not Ferarri or Maserati breaks. They may have bicycle breaks – which means not enough counterbalance to slow them down.
A lot of kiddos come into our office for scans and when we do our analysis, we see that their nervous system is all to the sympathetic side. We hear from the parents the common symptoms are trouble sleeping at night or they can’t sit still for a test or they’ve got to move and fidget all the time. Sometimes it’s hard for them to break out of a pattern, if they’re playing with legos, you don’t dare want to interrupt. This is all due to the fact that their nervous system is stuck more in that sympathetic side. So we’ve got to have more parasympathetic input.
Pediatric Chiropractic Can Help Our Kids Slow Down
One of the things we do as chiropractors is to shift more parasympathetic input into the nervous system. You can actually do that through the spine because two of the areas in the spine, up top right in the neck and down more in the lower SAC or low back area, are parasympathetic drivers. When we get stuck here and hold a lot of stress here, either from the birth process or a fall or emotional stress, they can dampen and lower that parasympathetic brake pedal.
Thus you have kids running around that are all stacked on the sympathetic gas pedal side and can’t slow down. We’re seeing so many kids right now just like that. My eight-year-old is like that and I have to check him a lot to make sure his system is not getting out of balance or he will sprint around my house and run circles around my wife and me.
I think this analogy will help you put that into perspective for kids. Sometimes when you’re wondering, why won’t my child slow down and you feel like you have to apologize after the fact, now you know there’s something going on deep in the central nervous system that’s causing them to go more sympathetic.
If that’s you, we’d love to connect with you. Send us a message or comment on this post. We’d love to talk through all of this with you because pediatric chiropractic can have such a big impact on that parasympathetic brake pedal system. We can help slow our kids down, so they can rest, digest, focus, and sit through that test and church service or spin on a dime when we really need them to.
Parents, my message to you is that you aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s just their nervous system stuck on one side and we’ve got to get it unstuck to be able to help them.