Can't sit still? Tips for helping kids sit still
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:
- Wall pushups
- Wheel barrow walks
- Catch with a weighted ball
- Animal walks
- Jumping jacks
- Jumping rope
- Trampoline jumping
- Playing at the park
- Taking short movement breaks throughout seated work can also assist with decreased fidgeting, self regulation and attention.
- Watch this short 2 minute video with more examples from the experts at Pediatric Therapy Tv
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.
- Air-filled Seat Cushions
- Sitting on an exercise ball
- Provide him is own individual space (bean bag chair, rocking chair, carpet square)
- Holding weighted items (blankets, animals, balls)
- Use a “fidget” (ex. Koosh Ball, squishy animals, pencil toppers, clay/putty)
- “Pencil toppers” available as fidgets and chewies
- Chewy tubes, Chewy jewelry, Chewy pencil toppers
- Resistance bands (Tie one end around base of a chair leg, tie other end around base of other leg of chair. Child can hook ankle around the band and push against the resistance.)
For more tips & info, contact North Shore Pediatric Therapy.Posted on February 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM