I recently had a 'Sensory overload' episode on a level I have not had before. I would love to hear if amyone can sympathise, or has any ideas on coping strategies, but first I will outline the situation:
I have 3 children, ages 13,7 and 4.
Our next door neighbours have 3 children, ages 9,6,and 3
At weekends the children like to play together, and there was at any point between 1 and 6 children in our house at any one time.
I noticed that I was having trouble knowing where my children were, and went and established they were next door. A short time later I had 3 children in my house again, though none were mine. This made me worry as I was unsure where my children were, but felt obligued to monitor the neighbours children in our house. Over the course of an hour the numbers and chidren moved around continuously.
During this my anxiety levels rose sharply and I reached a point where I was paralyzed in the kitchen. There were so many variables and I had no control of any of them. This included where my cildren were, if they were safe, what were the neighbours children touching and moving in my house, what happens if one gets hurt, and so on and so on. I felt bad, as I ended up having to go upstairs and hide from the children, with headphones on and music covering up the noise. I remember episodes fom my childhood, but as a parent this came as a bit of a shock, as it felt like I was rendered immobile by young children. It took around an hour and a half before I was ready to come down, ad I have been avoiding having them in the house, to the point I have started going out every Saturday for 3 hours to avoid being around when they tend to play.
Does anyone have any similar experieces with children, and what did you do? I don't want to send my time avoiding these situations, and I also don't want to limit the fun ad enjoyment my children get from socialising
First of all, you have my empathy over this. I struggle with children in the 3-11 year age range unless they are 1:1 with me. Every time I'm round lots I come away being glad of my dodgy plumbing that meant I couldn't have my own.
Second, he responsible is your 13 y/o, because if they are the basic child minding conversation with the proviso come to get help for the 3 Bs (blood, brains (head injury) or bones).
Third can you talk to the neighbor about turn about in each other house. Pitch it that you each can take turns at some time out for adult time.
Four, headphones are fine. You explain to all kids of any of them needs adult help they come to get you, don't just yell.
Five, what things help reduce your anxiety ahead of time? If you can be chilled before the Saturday afternoon rumble, things will be easier. Meltdowns are usually the end of a whole chain of events
You make a lot of sense and I think I will follow your advice and look at speaking with the neighbours. Our 13 year old is very good at looking after them, but she does not want to have to follow both her little brother and sister around, especially when they both like to do very different things.
My partner and I find the most successful thing we can do is to seperate the 2 younger children as this enables them to have an enjoyable time and we are abke to manage the situation better.
As for reducing my anxiety ahead of time, I have tried to make sure I am calm and chilled, but the situation has a way of affecting me instantly, no matter how calm I am.
I have a post diagnosis meeting today and I am going to bring this up and see what they say, as its something I need to learn how to deal with this as its going to keep happening