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Today a friend messaged me on Facebook asking for advice. Their young child was having issues sitting still and concentrating in class. Testing was a particular issue. I can relate because my daughter also has issues with this. She gets fidgety, as many children do and then cannot concentrate.
I think many parents can relate to this. As a former teacher, I had several children who struggled with sitting still. I taught preschool for years and circle time or longer small group sessions were like torture for some children. Over the years as a mother and a teacher, I’ve tried many things. Some work and some do not. I’ve seen teachers and other parents use certain products, techniques or natural solutions and I’ve learned one thing through it all. Each child is unique. There is not a one size fits all solution.
If you’re a teacher or a parent struggling with wiggly children who don’t want to pay attention, maybe a few of these suggestions will be helpful for you. It never hurts to try something and see if it helps a child because after all, we want the child to be happy and learn. When they can’t pay attention and their fidgety, the fall behind and get frustrated. Nobody wants this. It’s heart breaking.
- For homework time in our home, we use a diffuser and a blend of essential oils from NOW Foods called, Mental Focus. Everyone likes the smell and with some soft music, it helps with focusing during homework time.
- For school or home, a sensory seat cushion might help. The child can move and wiggle in their seat and it helps them stay calm, while staying seated. This is a great solution for children who get up and down from their seats and wander the room! Most times when children get up, it’s because they need to move and so they find an excuse to use the bathroom or sharpen a pencil. This helps them stay seated but still move.
- For children with anxiety or those that feel tension or stress at school, they move to help relieve their stress. Bouncy bands attach to the bottom of their chairs and let them move to relieve anxiety or stress, without disturbing the class. These are great for children with ADD or ADHD too!
- Fidget toys or playdough for a child to hold onto during lectures, free reading, circle time or other quiet times is very helpful. I’ve seen many teachers use this method and have the child put the toy or playdough in their desk and the child can play with it when they need to. It helps to relive stress.
- Some teachers even use balance ball chairs to help children. This allows the child to bounce, move and work to stay balanced, using their core muscles. I know some teachers love these chairs and have written grants for their classroom.
- Make sure the child is getting enough sleep at night. Tired children will move to try to stay awake. The more rested they are, the better they’ll learn and the easier it is for them to focus.
- Be open minded to trying supplements and natural alternatives, like acupuncture. My daughter goes to acupuncture every six weeks and I swear by it. We also use fish oil in her smoothie because fish oil is said to help with ADD and ADHD. I prefer Barlean’s Swirls because of the taste and how great they blend with the smoothies.
- Limit sugar and artificial colors and ingredients. This is a big thing for my daughter and for some reason; blue sets her off so I avoid this color at all costs. There’s lots of research out there about the negative effects of food coloring, dyes, sugar and artificial ingredients. It’s worth doing some research on this.
These are all suggestions I gave to my friend, along with talking to a professional. Talk to your child’s teacher and seek help from your child’s doctor and a counselor. What tips and advice do you have?