Tag Archives: Intellectual OE

34 Ways To Nourish Your Intellectual Overexcitability

nourish your intellectual overexcitability - woman reading in nature - laugh love learn

Ironic, isn’t it?

Raising kids is the hardest and most fulfilling thing most of us will ever do. Yet at times it can be head-bangingly dull.

I used to neglect my intellectual needs. I could see that good mothers needed to take care of themselves physically and emotionally. But spending time doing something just because I enjoyed the mental challenge felt self-indulgent.

Then I read these words at a PowerWood workshop about overexcitabilities:

Get your intellectual, practical and emotional needs clear and find practical solutions for meeting your own needs.

Simone de Hoogh

 For the first time since I’d become a mother, I felt validated for even having intellectual needs!

We’re better parents – and happier people –  when all our needs are met. So let’s make time to nourish our intellectual selves.

34 Ways To Nourish Your Intellectual Overexcitability

Hit the books

1. Audiobooks used to be a luxury, but with a family Audible subscription, they can cost just a few pounds each –  much less than the print or kindle edition. If you’re a fast reader you may need to train yourself to listen, but it’s worth the investment. I love listening to books while walking the dogs and folding laundry.

2. Start a book group. When a friend suggested we set up a group, I didn’t think I’d have time to read a fiction book each month as well as the piles of non-fiction I love. But I’ve managed somehow, and life has been richer for it.

nourish your intellectual overexcitability

3. School squeezed the joy out of the classics for many of us, but you can enjoy the great works of literature much more when you read them on your own terms and after some life experience. For tips on where to start, check out The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had.

4. If your reading time is very scarce, take a look at James Clear’s excellent reading lists for people who don’t have time for unimportant books.

5. Read thought-provoking longform articles at websites like Wait By Why or Brain Pickings.  This one blew my mind.

Tell your own story

6. Get that novel that’s been in your head for years down on paper by joining in NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo.

7. If you don’t feel up to writing a whole novel, how about a short story? Find inspiration here.

8. Maybe poetry’s more your thing? There’s a place for you too.

Anais Nin quote - nourish your intellectual overexcitability - laugh love learn

9. Find readers, feedback and encouragement by joining a writing community.

10. Share your passion and connect with kindred spirits by starting a blog. You needn’t spend a penny and can have your blog up and running within minutes by creating a WordPress hosted site. Find dead easy instructions here.

If you’re more serious, invest in ProBlogger’s Guide To Your First Week Of Blogging, which I read before starting this blog.

Make a game of it

Whether you’re hanging around outside your child’s dance class for a few minutes, or you have an hour to enjoy with your kids, there’s a game for you.

11. Words With Friends (Scrabble-type game). Let the app match you with an opponent, or play a friend. My mum lives three hours away but that doesn’t stop us playing WWF every day.

12. KenKen – arithmetic logic puzzles. We love the app version.

13. Grid logic puzzles – remember when they used to sell books of these? I loved them when I was growing up. You can now find them online, together with a handy tutorial. My son and I love working these puzzles together.

Michael Jordan quote - nourish your intellectual overexcitability - laugh love learn

14. Download a cryptic crossword app or grab a pen and try a few clues in your favourite newspaper. Most are available online if you prefer not to stress yourself out reading the news – see the Guardian, for instance.

15. Depending on how old and how competitive your kids are, board games may – or may not! –  improve your wellbeing. If my baseline is high I love playing chess, Ticket to Ride, Mastermind or Carcassone with my family.

16. Board game apps – Did you know you can play board games like Ticket to Ride, Carcassone and Splendor on your phone? (I’m totally addicted to Ticket to Ride.) The tutorials are great if like me you love complex games but hate reading instructions. And we introverts can enjoy a fun mental workout without the drain of interacting with another person. 😉

Study at Yale while nursing your baby

A generation ago, taking a course meant showing up (child-free) at a regular place for at least an hour every week. Not something busy mums can easily commit to.

MOOCs (massive open online courses) have changed all that. There’s never been an easier time to learn something new, on a schedule to suit you. Here are a few of the many MOOCs on offer:

17. Coursera has a huge selection of courses from the best institutions around the world. Fancy learning about Magic in the Middle Ages? Taking Yale’s Introduction to classical music? Or perhaps you’d prefer Animal behaviour and welfare, or Photography basics: From smartphone to DSLR?

Ghandi quote - nourish your intellectual overexcitability - laugh love learn

18. Here are some FutureLearn courses that caught my eye on a brief scan: The politics and diplomacy of cooking and hospitalityMyths and realities of personalised medicine: the Genetic revolution, The Earth in my pocket: An introduction to geology, Elements of renewable energy, and Antiquities trafficking and art crime.

19. At EdX you can learn, among other things, about the Greatest unsolved mysteries of the Universe, Japanese culture and art, and The ethics of eating.

20. Not all Udemy‘s courses are free but their regular sales mean you never need pay more than £15 for dozens of hours of training. (Bonus: paying incentivises us to complete a course.) Here’s a small sample of what you can learn at Udemy: How to be a yoga laughter facilitator, How to teach your children to be financially wise, and The part-time entrepreneur complete course.

Wrap your tongue around a new language

Not only does learning another language improve your communication skills, it also boosts memory, problem-solving and decision-making capabilities, and makes you less susceptible to dementia. A second (or third) language will also increase your options after your kids have grown.

21. Duolingo I started learning German from absolute beginner level four years ago. As an experiment, I’ve done nothing but one five minute Duolingo lesson a day on my phone. Apparently I’m now 37% fluent! More importantly, I can find the chocolate cake on an Austrian menu, and impress my husband by not needing the subtitles when we’re watching The Man In The High Castle.

haruki Murakami quote - nourish your intellectual overexcitability - laugh love learn

22. Fluent Forever – I highly recommend this book if you’re serious about quickly becoming fluent in another language and enjoy using memory systems. The author is passionate about languages and his website is filled with tools to support you learning 32 different language options from Arabic to Cantonese. I’m learning Italian and brushing up my Spanish with the Fluent Forever system.

23. Listen to an audio language course  in the car or while you’re cooking dinner.

24. Fancy learning a classical language? Peter Jones’ Ancient Greek and Learn Latin are a quirky and fun way to get started.

Become a master crafter

Would you like to try a new craft but you’re not sure what? Think back on how you liked to play when you were growing up. I used to take photos with a pinhole camera and make my own magazines. These days I still love photography and writing.

Or try one of these:

25. Crochet or knitting. Once you’ve mastered the basics, try inventing your own patterns or even new stitches.

26. Research your family history or the history of your local area.

haruki Murakami quote - nourish your intellectual overexcitability - laugh love learn

27. Grow your own food. You could even follow the example of one of my friends in the PowerWood Facebook Group who studies permaculture and is creating an edible forest!

28. Nourish your family as well as your intellect by learning to cook a new dish or even a whole a new style of cuisine.

29. Make your own organic cosmetics and sun screens.

Get smarter together

Nourish your intellectual overexcitability alongside your kids:

30. Watch a BBC  documentary like Orbit Earth or anything with David Attenborough.

31. Teach them to play chess.

32. Tune into a TED Ed talk together.

33. Make music. When we started homeschooling, I had very little time for myself.  For two years my daughter took group guitar lessons then came home and taught me what she’d learned. I’m taking my grade 7 exam soon.

34. Watch an It’s Okay To Be Smart video on YouTube.

Extra resources

Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism, The Telegraph

10 Hobbies worth pursuing for your curious mind, Shout Me Loud

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How do you nourish your intellectual OE?

I’d love to hear from you!

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This post is part of a series on using our overexcitabilities to nourish our souls. See also:

14 Delightful Ways to Use Sensual Overexcitability to Nourish Your Soul

6 Eclectic Ways to Use Imaginational Overexcitability to Nourish Your Soul

How to Use Emotional Overexcitability to Nourish Your Soul

If you’d like to receive the final part of the series – how to use your psychomotor overexcitability to nourish your soul – direct to your inbox, just leave your email address in the ‘Follow by Email’ box below. You can also like Laugh, Love, Learn on Facebook.

6 Things You Need If Your Child Has Intellectual Overexcitability

6 Things You Need If Your Child Has Intellectual Overexcitability

Intellectual overexcitability is sometimes described as ‘perpetual toddler syndrome’ (Living With Intensity). Children with intellectual OE ask questions. Lots of questions.

“How many people exactly are there in the world? That book in our bathroom says 278 babies are born in the time it takes to read to the bottom of the page. Who counts them?”

“What do you think dogs dream about?”

“Who invented scooters?”

These children have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, love solving puzzles, often have a deep interest in moral issues, and can ponder problems for hours.

“Which two animals would you like to cross, Mummy?”

“I’m not sure, sweetie. Let me have a think. How about you?”

“Well, for land, my answer would be a lobster and an elephant. My sea animals would be a swordfish and a jellyfish. For air, it would probably be peregrine falcon and a mosquito. And if I could cross land, air and sea…”

Parenting these incessantly curious children is a delight – and can be exhausting! Here are a few of the things I’ve discovered you need to make the most of the delight and minimise the exhaustion . . .

1. Books

I’m sure no one reading this needs telling that kids with intellectual OE love books. For most parents the biggest problem is probably how to prise the book out of their child’s hands during meals or at bedtime. {When I was a kid I used to cover my lamp to stop my parents seeing my reading light under my bedroom door. That stopped the day my mum came upstairs saying she could smell smoke and discovered I’d burned a hole in my dressing gown. ? }

If your intellectually OE child, like mine, has other special needs which make reading challenging  (like dyslexia or ADHD), audiobooks can be a godsend.

My ten-year-old’s headphones are as permanently attached to him as a book was to me when I was growing up. With an Audible subscription each book only costs a few pounds, so your twice-exceptional child’s book habit needn’t break the bank.

6 Things You NeedIf Your Child Has Intellectual Overexcitability
We also love non-fiction compilations with plenty of pictures, like these in our bathroom ‘library’. The Bill Bryson is also available as an audiobook.

2. Smartphone

Books are all very well but what about those need-to-know-now emergencies that happen while you’re out of the house? Like when you’re walking along the beach and can’t remember the word for someone who does magic with water {hydromancer}. Or in a restaurant and you want to know which country has most vegetarians {India}. Or on a London bus and wonder how tall the tallest building in the world is {2722ft – the Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Thanks, Google!}

3. Quiet zone

Engaging with intellectually OE kids can be wonderfully stimulating, but keeping up with their energy at the same time as doing all the other things adult life requires can be a challenge.  You need time to recharge, especially if you’re a sensually OE introvert like me.

As a homeschooling mum I spend almost all my time with my children so it’s crucial for me to look after my energy and emotional wellbeing throughout the day. I’ve learned the hard way that no one benefits if I ignore my body’s signs that I need a few minutes’ quiet time.

If making a physical retreat isn’t possible, like when I’m in the middle of cooking dinner or back when I had to keep an eye on little ones, I create some virtual space with a white noise app like Brain Wave.

4. A relaxation technique

Make your time in your quiet zone as restorative as possible by finding a relaxation technique that works for you.  Whether it’s meditation, yoga, prayer, mindfulness or just five minutes curled up with a grown-up book, the time you invest in relaxing will allow you to give better quality attention to your intellectually OE child later.

My kids think of my 15-minute meditation sessions as ‘Mummy reboots’.  I usually find my mind wanders less if I listen to guided visualisations while meditating. Other people prefer to listen to relaxing music or just to breathe deeply. I also like the Buddhify mindfulness app which has over eighty short meditations suitable for all sorts of locations and moods.

6 Things You NeedIf Your Child Has Intellectual Overexcitability - Buddhify

5. Thick skin

For me, one of the most challenging aspects of raising a child with OEs is dealing with other people. Whether your four-year-old is asking a woman on the train why she has a moustache or your nine-year-old isn’t letting other children get a word in edgeways at a workshop, you’re all-too-often aware of other people judging your parenting skills. This can be especially stressful if you have emotional overexcitability.

If only growing a thicker skin really was an option. To be honest I’m still working on this one, but two things  I’ve learned so far are:

(1) Try not to take other people’s reactions personally. They don’t know about OEs or what it’s like to bring up a child whose insatiable need to know can drive them to ask question after question, long after social convention would have them stop.

(2) Focus on the positive side of intellectual overexcitability by cherishing the gift of curiosity and remembering that behind all of history’s greatest engineers and scientists was probably an (at times) embarrassed mother.

6. The ability to explain complex ideas in child-friendly terms

When my kids were little, older relations used to warn me against explaining myself to them.  “They should just learn to accept ‘Because I say so’”, they reasoned.

But even if I’d agreed with that advice, my kids had other ideas. Children with intellectual OE won’t be fobbed off, so in my experience there’s no point wearing yourself out trying. (Besides which, you’d miss out on some great conversations.)

A child with intellectual OE needs to understand.  So whatever your child’s age, be prepared for lengthy debates on such matters as why we have to clean our teeth, whether parallel universes exist, what should be done about homelessness and why the long division algorithm works, from the second they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. (See the importance of quiet time and relaxation, above!)

Over to you

  • What does intellectual overexcitability look like in your family?
  • Have you had any embarrassing moments when your child hasn’t been able to stop themselves from blurting out a question in public?
  • What are your top tips for recharging your energy?

I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or on the Laugh, Love, Learn Facebook page, or drop me an email.

Intellectual overexcitability resources

Jade Ann Rivera – How to Identify and Cope with Overexcitabilities, Part 3 of 5: Intellectual Overexcitability

PowerWood – Intellectual OE

Living With Intensity by Susan Daniels and Michael Piechowski

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This is part four of my series on the five types of overexcitability. See also:

7 Signs Your Child Has Psychomotor Overexcitability,

What Is Sensual Overexcitability? and

The Ups and Downs of Imaginational Overexcitability.

Next week I’ll be ending the series by talking about emotional overexcitability. Fill in the Subscribe by Email box below to get it straight to your inbox.

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To find out if you or someone in your family has OEs, take the free online OE questionnaire at the PowerWood website. (Results come back by return email.)




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