Can't sit still? Tips for helping kids sit still

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Written by: Marissa Edwards

  Marissa Edwards, M.S., OTR/L is a licensed Occupational Therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy ( http://www.NSPT4kids.com ). She graduated from Rush University in Chicago with her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, and decided to focus her career in pediatrics. North Shore Pediatric Therapy is a multi-disciplinary clinic with locations in Bucktown, Glenview and Highland Park & specializes in Pediatric Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Social Work, Behavior 911, Executive Functioning, Nutritional Counseling, Tutoring, Reading and Neuropsychology Diagnostics and Support. 

Many children are in constant motion. Their bodies and minds are like a motor, always moving, squirming, wiggling, running, talking, and on the go. When the fidgeting becomes excessive, it can impede functioning and learning, and negatively impact every day life. Your child can be fidgeting for various reasons, including difficulty self-regulating .  He may have a “high engine” and need some heavy work input to lower his “engine,” or arousal, to a more regulated level. Or, he may have a “low engine” and is moving in order to increase his arousal, helping him to remain alert and engaged. Children may also be fidgeting due to weak trunk and postural stability muscles, which cause quick fatigue when seated at a table, on the floor etc., and results in frequent or constant movement in an effort to maintain an upright position despite tired muscles.

Fidgety kids can experience poor attention; decreased learning; difficulty finishing tasks and assignments on time; and difficulty finishing every day activities, such as eating a meal. Fidgety kids can also be distracting and irritating to those around them.

Do you want to help decrease your child’s fidgeting behaviors? 5 or more minutes of “heavy work” before sitting for table work can do wonders for helping your child keep a quiet body.

Heavy Work Activities To Help Children Sit Still:

When your child is seated in a chair, it is very important that they are in a proper seated position. Feet must be flat on the floor or resting on top of a stool to provide stability to the body, back support to support a stable trunk, and elbows should rest comfortably on the table without shoulders rising.

There are also several strategies that can allow children to experience movement without actually getting up and moving around, providing the tactile stimulation their mind and body are craving. These strategies can be calming, allowing children to stay on task.

For more tips & info, contact North Shore Pediatric Therapy

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Comments


3 Replies

  • Can't Sit Still

    Great advice! I'm a Kindergarten teacher and this information is informative and effective! Do you have advice to develop self-regulation?

    by Reem on 03/01 at 06:56PM

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  • HW tutoring and planing for a 6year old

    Hi I am a first year Early Childhood EducTion student and I tutor my 6 year old little brother named Sam. He has trouble staying focused during HW time. His mind tends to wander to subjects that are completely different to the topic particularly during literacy and math activities. The results he shows are quiet disadvantaged for his age but I believe that he does have knowledge of the content. I have tried songs, and hand actions to go along with the activities provided from his teachers along with multiple rewards systems even those he came up with him self although he seems to get bored of them not even half way through the session and acts out in bad behaviour. I then tried shortening the tasks per session but it would still take hours to complete the small task as he would be not engaged and therefore guessing ect. I understand that a child needs some sort of consistency with a teaching stratagie in order to not get confused but I am lost to find what can appeal to Sam and stay appealing to him Thank you Ella

    by Ellak on 08/05 at 09:30PM

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  • Haha, shouldn't you be charging for that kind of kn?ogedlew!

    Haha, shouldn't you be charging for that kind of kn?ogedlew!

    by Zooni on 07/20 at 09:43AM

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