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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

We Got a Trampoline!


My 5.5 year old daughter Rose is extremely delicious and cute, but also has lots of behavior issues (due in no small part to her autism). One of the things that is most difficult for me, though, is that because of her sensory issues, she's nearly always sensory seeking, looking for ways to get sensory input. And I'm usually the one who she uses for sensory input, in ways that I can find painful or very irritating and make it hard for me to parent her in ways that are beneficial to her. When it's not on me, it often involves thrill seeking and doing dangerous actions, and she's quite lucky she hasn't yet gotten hurt.

I was at a meeting at Rose's school, with her psychologist (I think it's awesome that her school has biweekly meetings with the parents to touch base and to help improve your child's care, both in and out of school) and I brought up her frequent misbehaving not to mention the constant meltdowns she was having. And the answer I got was as simple as it was helpful.

"Get her a trampoline."


What? That was definitely not the answer I was expecting to get from a professional. I thought she was going to give me some, you know, parenting advice. Like how to deal with the meltdowns, or how to prevent them in the first place.

I asked her what a trampoline has to do with her behavior, and she told me that most of these issues I'm having are coming from her sensory seeking, and by giving her regular time to jump on a trampoline, this sensory need of hers will be filled, and she'll be less likely to act out in other ways. This confused me, because I didn't understand how big jumps could stop her craving to touch and rub all over, since they're different senses, but apparently they do work as a whole system, and filling one sensory need eliminates issues in other sensory areas.
To be honest, I was a little skeptical about this, but her school is literally the top experts in the field in my region, and if that's what they suggested, that's what I'd do.

I looked online to see how much a second hand trampoline would cost, and found ones for approximately $150 dollars that were large and not in perfect condition, and would also need to be transported from there to here, not to mention disassembled and assembled.

I then went to see how much of a bargain that would be, compared to how much a brand new trampoline would cost.
The smaller trampolines, the indoor ones, were approximately $60, but I don't really have room indoors for one, but we do have room outdoors. 3.5 meter trampolines, nicely sized ones, were being sold for a little under $150 brand new, together with a safety net, together with delivery. I definitely decided then that I'd be getting a large one, so my whole family would be able to enjoy it.



The trampoline arrived and it looked like this, and to be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed. Who wouldn't be?

But then I looked at the instructions, and together with my sons and a friend, we put the entire thing together in a bit under 2 hours. And once we got it up, it was such a good feeling.




To be honest, it wasn't the easiest thing to do, because a certain part of it took a lot of strength, and one person wasn't enough for that.

For anyone who wants to put a trampoline together, I want to give a tip that I learned from experience.



When you at first use the spring loading tool to get the springs on, it won't be difficult, because you'll have a lot of slack. Then as you go on, it gets a little harder and harder, but the reason its actually hard is because of the angle of the springs. Instead of going towards the center, the springs will be pulled towards the side where the other springs are, and this can make it hard to get the springs into the hole.
When this happens, the answer is to stop putting springs where you're at, and then skip springs (making sure you're counting them perfectly so each spring is paired with its correct hole, and then do a spring nearly opposite from where you started from. This will be the absolute hardest spring to do, and it will take a lot of physical strength, pushing the frame one direction, while you pull the spring the other direction. But once you get this in, you can then work outward from here, and all the springs will be easier, and none of them will have the issue of being pulled diagonally anymore.

Just my little word to the wise.

So far, my kids have really been enjoying the trampoline. We've made rules that only 2 kids are allowed on the trampoline at one time, and both of those kids need to be the same weight limit, since the biggest trampoline injuries happen by having different weight kids or too many kids on a trampoline.

Can I tell you if the trampoline is helping behavior issues?

I can't tell that perfectly yet. I can say, though, that when my daughter starts sensory seeking in ways that I find unpleasant or are unsafe, I send her to the trampoline, and she goes happily. So that is definitely a plus.

I know trampolines aren't perfectly safe and that kids can get injured with trampolines. But kids can get hurt from regular life as well, we've had 2 broken bones already, one just from walking across the floor. And we've had other injuries from Rose's misbehavior, so hopefully this will be a better option. No, nothing in life is totally safe, but I'm going to go with the professional's recommendation here, and do what is best for my daughter.

Do you have a trampoline at home? What are the rules you have for yours?

3 comments:

  1. We don't have one, but I have lots of friends who do. And they really are a great thing for kids with sensory issues! We had a mini-trampoline in our living room for years when I was homeschooling and there was regular jumping by certain kids who needed an energy outlet or a sensory break.

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  2. Awesome! My son had/has sensory issues and a trampoline was a great investment for him. Also a weighted jacket/vest or a weighted backpack helps too.

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  3. Never had a trampoline, always wanted one and always took advantage when presented with the chance to jump. I do have a exercise one for myself that's small enough to be in my bedroom, but don't have the balance to workout on it like the professionals. I use it for walking instead.

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