I’ve watched my son go from sitting perfectly in his chair to falling flat on the floor in under a millisecond.
Sitting still is just not his thing.
While I try to keep him as active as possible while we’re learning, there are moments when desk time is unavoidable.
Here are some tips and strategies to help your child concentrate and sit still if they’re a fidgetor.
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I’m so excited that Chewigem sponsored this post today. They have tons of great solutions for kids who fidget!
Gross Motor Activities
While sitting at a desk may seem like the quintessential brain growth activity, gross motor work actually builds the brain more. To get the wiggles out and to get the brain ready to focus, try engaging the whole body in gross motor activities. Plan your day around them. Choose to do the desk work after something like playing on the playground, or a rousing game of tag.
Kids can only focus so long. Their brains (like ours) need variety. During the seated work, provide plenty of movement breaks. Kids should get up and move around at least every fifteen minutes. It gets the blood flowing and helps the brain regulate and handle even more information.
- Call a time out for jumping jacks.
- Encourage them to do a little sun salutation yoga.
- Play a quick game of hot potato.
- Get up and dance.
(For a ton more ideas for quick brain breaks, check out this post.)
Don’t forget to allow movement DURING seated work. While it might seem like they’d be distracting, educators have seen dramatic positive test results by providing these opportunities for kids. Giving kids an outlet to move helps them concentrate on listening, instead of spending all their energy trying to hold still!
There are many creative ways to incorporate movement for the fidgetor while they’re in a chair.
First, instead of a chair, have them sit on an Exercise Ball. Just the process of using their stabilizing muscles to sit will make a big improvement. Need something that travels well? Try this portable Wiggle Seat. We use the ball and the seat all the time for all sorts of sensory therapy, so they’re a great investment!
Another ingenious invention is the Bouncy Band that stretches across the two front legs of a chair, allowing the seated person to bounce their legs up and down without disturbing the class!
Give the child something to chew on or fidget with in their hands. Chewigem has a whole store full of ideas. We tried their “Hexi Chew” which is a combination of fidget AND chew! It’s relaxing to have something to mess around with in your hands. There’s lots of gross motor, proprioceptive input coming from a tool like this. I love how it strengthens little hands too!
Have more questions??? Check out this wildly popular series of Sensory FAQs and become a more confident sensory parent today!