The focused classroom is constantly challenged by the fact that children need to move. This critical childhood must, however, clashes directly with the fact that recesses are shorter and shorter, demands on teachers are increasing to help students meet standardized tests, and children are expected to sit upright in chairs for long hours at a time. This goes directly against the age-old need of children to climb trees, race across fields, play in streams and generally move their bodies in all directions for hours at a time.
While this state of affairs points to a greater need for movement programs and after-school activity, it also points to the need to keep students moving in the classroom. While some teachers address this by taking wiggle breaks or adopting a few yoga poses, that doesn’t necessarily help students with a higher need for activity.
So how can you deal with those needs to move without throwing the classroom off, and ideally keep kids focused on work while they get more bodily movement? Here are a few ideas to get your started.
Employ the Fidget
So just what can help these kids? Well, fidgeting may be an excellent tool. Fidgeting is a natural response to stress, anxiety, boredom and a range of other natural emotions. Children, like adults, sometimes need to work off that excess energy, and you can offer healthier options than squirming in their seats or disrupting others in the class.
Fidgets are one such tool to help you counteract this need to move. Small palm-sized objects can be manipulated under the desk, out of sight of the other children, and sit unobtrusively on desktops when not in use.
Get Hands Ready to Work
The Caterpinch, for instance, offers tactile stimulation with gel-filled pockets that warm up hands and get them ready to write or draw. The tool strengthens hands, helps younger children work on their fine motor skills, and gives the less-focused something to do with that excess energy so they can keep their minds on their work.
Offer Stools That Encourage Movement
Whether at the top of their class or struggling to stay abreast of material, most kids want to wiggle out more energy than they get to in the average classroom. While small tools for busy hands are a great method for this, sometimes kids just need to move their entire bodies.
NeoRok stools are a good option, letting kids rock in any direction ergonomically, which they can do in the background while working. And as studies show that most children lack a properly functioning balance system, these stools kill two birds with one stone.
Want to learn more about helping kids burn energy in the classroom, stay focused on their work and have an all-around happier school experience? We don’t blame you; what teacher wouldn’t want more tools in their toolbox for creating better adjusted and more successful kids?
Do YOU have any suggestions for teachers with fidgety kids? We’d love to hear them!