Our Front Porch and the Swing Effect

1993 daddy's boysI love our front porch.  We tell people all the time it is our family room and counseling center.  We have a porch swing which I recommend to everyone who has a porch with the space to swing.  My grandmother had a swing on her porch and as soon as we got to her house we started swinging.  At our family homestead, we had a swing in our basement.  In the winter when it was too cold to do anything outside we would swing down there.

Do you know that swinging helps create mood calming chemicals in the body?  That might explain why people spend thousands of dollars on baby swings each year.  It really works.

Maybe all the years we’ve spent swinging on the porch explain why we are still married.  In Dec. 2014 we will celebrate 30 years together.  When we’ve had stressful times we would say “let’s swing” which meant we would discuss the issue while swinging on the porch.  I thought it was just a change of environment that helped the discussion but it seems it was more than that. We live on a fairly busy street so we would have plenty of distractions while we were swinging but now I know it was the chemical release we got while swinging that helped us work out many problems.

I use to swing with my boys a lot on the porch in the summer when I would read to them and sing.  Those are some of my sweetest memories and now we swing our grandson and he loves it too.  The picture included is from 1993 with my three favorite guys on the swing.

Here is some information about vestibular input.  What is that? Well, that’s what happens to your brain when you swing.  Most of the time putting a baby in a swing calms them but few people know why.  Sometimes you have babies that have a very stressed sensory system and swinging or rocking have little effect but for most people swinging will cause a calming effect in the sensory system.  I hope this little article will be a help to someone in need of a calming therapy for themselves or their children.  A swing is an inexpensive therapy with known benefits and a great time for the family to spend together.

The information below was taken from  http://www.developmental-delay.com/page.cfm/260 Center of Development, Pediatric Therapies

  • Vestibular input is the strongest of the brain stem sensations and lasts the longest in the brain chemical release. It is the fastest way to calm anyone with slow, gentle, rhythmic swinging from a single hung point. Decreases stress chemicals the fastest.

  •  Getting a swing that is hung from a single point will give her more effective and stronger, longer lasting vestibular input. Swinging on a swing is the ideal source of Vestibular input, and if done for 15 minutes on a swing can last up to 8 hours in the central nervous system, the other types of input only last 2 hours or so, so they must be done more often. I would highly recommend swinging for at least two 15 minute sessions a day one first thing in the a.m. and again in the afternoon. This will help give the calming and organized vestibular input that is needed to help keep an individual  responding to sensory input appropriately. May help to swing and rock gently before bedtime as well if sleeping is a problem. If swinging can be a calming choice throughout the day, then I would highly recommend it above anything else in the home & classroom. You can have a swing hung from the ceiling or from a “hammock swing stand” and let them swing themselves, just make sure it is slow, rhythmical, and not erratic. When on the playground, try to encourage linear swinging, and avoid rotary at this time as rotary swinging may “hype” them up too much.

I hope you enjoyed this slice of my life and maybe it can help you or someone you know.

july 4 ft porch dp3 us small

Our grandson, the newest member of swing time.

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