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My 20 months old daughter is in very good shape and is growing very well.

She has discovered how to play the music sound system and we are listening to the same record over and over again. In the course of these moments, sometimes she starts enjoying it very much to the point of laughing, running around the living room and, eventually, spinning around.

This last thing is the one that impresses me the most: how come spinning around is this enjoyable for her? I have talked with other fellow parents and they also recognize this behaviour.

To make my point clear, by spinning around I mean her rotating around her axis many, many times (say ten or so). Then, she tries to walk normally and the effect of the rotation makes her wobble, walk strangely and sometimes even fall down. To her fun, of course, because she laughs while doing it.

Her spinning also includes us, the parents, from time to time: she will grab our hand and start running around us, so we also do rotate. To me this is hard because I get sick after the second turn, so I just stop myself.

I assume this is not dangerous, so my concern is: what is the reason for her spinning around? Is there any kind of feeling they get at this age that I cannot perceive as an adult?

  • My girls, 6 and 4 years old, still do this sometimes. It's fun, they enjoy the dizziness. There's nothing to worry about. – Carmi Mar 15 '17 at 20:12
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    Looook how the woooooorld blurs and moves and turns weird around me! The fun thing is, that kids can see much more delight in a change of their own perception than we do. – skymningen Mar 16 '17 at 10:02
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    In what world would you wonder why a child likes to spin? It is like asking why a child thinks its fun to laugh. Because it is fun! Up until now I thought it something everybody did as a child. Our toddler loves when I put him on a spinning chair, and spin him really really fast, as fast as I can, he literally has to hold on tight not to fall off. He absolutely loves it! :) – bjarkef Apr 12 '17 at 12:45
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Spinning actually produces a state of ecstasy. Dancing, in general, releases endorphins and serotonin, but spinning is particularly effective at this. Kids are not inhibited by social norms that might make them feel they look silly, so they have no restraints to prevent them from enjoying this form of mood-elevation.

Spinning also helps kids train their balance system, which is still developing until around fifteen years of age.

Another thing that prevents many adults from enjoying this is nausea. The precise causes are not known, but it is thought that nausea develops because the brain thinks that the blur of information means you ate something toxic. The inner ear (which aids in sensing balance) deteriorates with age, making adults more susceptible to these effects.

Sources:

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    It is specially interesting this part of information about the nausea. This is exactly what stops me from spinning around, while it probably is the reason for my daughter to keep doing it, together with the fact that it does not affect her that much. That was very clarifying, thanks a lot. – fedorqui Mar 15 '17 at 22:48
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I personally liked the same experience, too, and not only till my 20-th month, AFAIR. It is really funny your body slips out of control as a result of such simple action as several turns. :)

She just discovers that mysterious phenomena happen not only in external world, but also in her own body, and the behaviour is probably one of her first experiments with it. I wouldn't worry at all. Just watch her, in case she tries it too close to a wall, a table or some toys on a floor, and enjoy her fun.

  • ... and not only till my 20-th month - so you mean your child kept doing it for some more time? Out of curiosity, do you remember for how long, aprox? – fedorqui Mar 15 '17 at 12:12
  • No – not my child, but me. I liked it even when I was ...4 or 6 yo, I suppose (you see, it's difficult to recall now precisely). I also liked hanging from a bed with my head down (in later years it was a carpet rod, or a horizontal rod supporting a seesaw), and recently my then-5 y.o. daughter enjoyed hanging down from the bed, too. However she didn't enjoy spinning round and round, so these are very individual preferences. – CiaPan Mar 15 '17 at 12:54
  • Aaah I did not understand it was you :) My daughter also enjoys climbing every bed, chair, table she finds... in the most difficult way she can. I guess it is the mixture of risk and excitement for the new things she is able to do. – fedorqui Mar 15 '17 at 12:58
  • I don't think they consider any 'risk' at that age, either as a potential danger ('something bad may happen to me') or a possible fault ('I may not be able to get where I want'). They probably just make lots of fun of exploring their growing abilities. Just becuase they can. And some people retain this attitude long, long past their childhood. (But I'm getting quite off-topic, so better EOT.) – CiaPan Mar 15 '17 at 13:14
  • I'm 34 and still enjoy it sometimes, mostly to music and generally in a large group of other people. We tend to call it dancing. Although I'm being mildly facetious I'm referring to Ceilidhs, Morris and other regional UK folk dancing which I am wont to be engaged in. Moving your body like this to music is not atypical in adults! – MD-Tech Mar 15 '17 at 15:35
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I am 26. When I was younger, I got my first stereo about six and I don't know how it started, but I spin but at the same time I can say dream. I do it all the time when I'm sad or angry, it's my little thing I go and do, I've always done. I like the way I feel when I spin and I can do it for ages, but I don't let anyone see me do. I keep it private but a think it's my own thing, my comfort and I have to use loud music to spin.

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    Can you reword this into an answer. The OP wants to know if there is a "feeling" a child gets when they do this. It seems like you remember how it feels, but your answer is confusing... – elbrant Mar 6 at 1:40

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