Is there anything i can do to get my 3 year old to stop head banging?

Leah - posted on 01/26/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old son bangs his head every night to fall asleep. I think it nurtures him. I have tried rocking him massaging him. A little bit of everything. But I am clueless and his doctor say2 out of every 10 children bang at one time or another before the age of 4 and it is more prone in boys. He has a bald spot on the back of his head from banging so much What can I do? Im already getting him a helmet.

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Bobbi Jean - posted on 01/04/2013

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A friend's child would do this just at night. Finally, they padded the wall at the head of his bed. I think they used a thin mattress covered with a slip cover of some kind that could be removed for washing. He did it until he was about 9. This seemed to work, though.

Cherish - posted on 02/02/2010

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Hi,
My son is 7.5 and still bangs his head when he is mad.
I had to get him a soft helmet because he would bang his head so hard on cement,floors,anything.

Have you tried a body sock or a weighted blanket?
My son does a lot of other stimmy things like rocking,humming and hand flapping as well.

Just get a helmet,my son liked the pressure the helmet gave him.

Amanda - posted on 02/02/2010

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My 3 1/2 year old used to bang his head a lot during the day -- and at night. It was very upsetting to me too.

But my doctor told me the same thing yours did, and I can report that he has almost stopped it entirely now. Now he only does it if he's angry and he wants to get a reaction out of me (and it works unfortunately!).

You might try putting together a social story that shows pictures of your son and his going to bed routine. A social story might show that "sometimes we need help going to sleep" and show some things he can do, like cuddling a stuffed animal or listening to music that might serve as alternatives to head-banging.

Best of luck - I know it's hard ...

Amanda
Blogging for Billy at www.AmandaBroadfoot.com

Christine - posted on 02/02/2010

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My son was diagnosed about the same age your son is now , however, my son is now 15. What helped him when he was young was having a pet for him.
It was his very own cat which he could pet to help calm him down. It was very therapeutic and for some reason it just seemed to really calm him down. I also would massage his back and legs with this clear plastic brush the nurse gave me. Guess the feel of the bristles helped him focus and regain control.

Amber - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hi Leah. My son used to bang his head very often during the day to calm himself down. I put a swing in his bedroom and spinning him in his swing seems to calm him the same way. It's been a little over a year since we got the swing and when he feels he needs to calm down he will ask me to spin. For about 3 months that was the only way he would fall asleep. He only bangs his head during meltdowns now.

Mary - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hi Leah.I was going to say put a well padded turban on his head it might be more comfy to sleep in than a helmet. But seriously this is a worrying problem. My Son used to bang his head off the wall from the age of three for some months and it used to worry me sick in case he would hurt himself my doctor was no help said he will grow out of it . I was worried that he might fracture his skull. he used to do this when something stressed him out I just put him in his playpen till he calmed down played soothing music and read stories to him.he grew out of it after 12 months and he is now a 40 year old clr for our local Council with a lovely wife and two lovely children of his own. Good luck xx

Sarah - posted on 01/26/2010

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My 6 yr old daughter hits her head on just about everything, whether it be the wall, floor, her hands..... The best way I have tried to get her to stop is I go and hug her or start massaging her. Also the cocoon method has helped alot. Have you talked to his Dr about your concerns? I hope some of this has helped some.

Tracy - posted on 01/26/2010

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Well, I think it's considered a form of stimming, which i guess is their way of comforting themselves. My son rocks back and forth from hand to hand, side to side, which calms him.. maybe you could try replacing the headbanging with something else calming, like rubbing a soft stuffed animal, or playing with a squishy (these are great for pdd kids). Everytime he bangs, you show him the other method and hope he joins. I wouldn't pay too much attention to it though, that will make them want to do it even worse. You have to be pretty crafty with kids, lol. Make him think it's his idea ;)

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