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Helping Fidgety Kids Sit Still?
By: 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.

How about:

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.

Have fun!

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Sensory Integration: Accessible Tactile Stimulation

Children who are tactile defensive can benefit from playing with the three gentle stimulation choices offered on the Visual & Hearing Impaired Activity Center. Children have total control over which stimulus they activate and how long it operates. The soothing nature of the stimulation makes this toy more inviting to a tactile-defensive child then "messy" and "sticky" sensations. A good introduction to tactile stimulation.


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