Helping Fidgety Kids Sit Still?
Renata Bursten, Dragonfly Staff
A sensory approach to the age-old question.
Lots of children have trouble sitting still in a circle or in a class. A nonintegrated sensory system may be at the bottom of their problem. Sensory circle-time strategies can help the 'fidgeter', in both the classroom and the home.
Seating the children in beanbag or soft chairs to give maximum support and pressure over a large part of the body surface. If possible, adapt the seating for the whole group. This helps the children avoid feeling singled out or "special".
Use a visual cue (like a carpet marker) to show the child where to sit. A good collection of bright place mats can offer each child an easily recognizable spot of their own.
Let the child hold "fidget toys". Try a Skwish, a few Wikki Stix, or Strength Putty. Save these toys for circle time only to maximize their magic.
Sit the child straddling a Physio Egg or a Physioball. The kinesthetic and vestibular input may help stretch the attention span.
Try breaking the circle up into an active physical part and a quiet listening part. For some children, a brief bout of physical exertion can help them settle down and focus on the teacher.
Carrying a few strategies in to the circle can help you get the most of the time spent in the circle.