Fidgeting consists of constant, unconscious movement that includes shifting the entire body, jumping, thumping pencils on desks, and tapping fingers and feet. Children often start fidgeting out of boredom, nervousness, agitation and conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders. Fidgeting can affect a child's social life and school work. Parents and teachers can use different strategies to help a child stop fidgeting.
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Break Lessons into Smaller Tasks
Children often have a shorter attention-span than adults; after a short amount of time, they can become irritable and fidgety. Teachers can break their lessons into smaller segments, according to the needs of their students. Teachers can let students stand up and walk around the classroom between lessons. According to the "Additude Magazine," some teachers keep mini trampolines and Swiss exercise balls in their classroom for students to use between lessons. At home, parents can also break their child's homework down into smaller tasks.
Provide Errands and Tasks
Children fidget less when they have things to do that require activity and movement. Teachers may assign in-room tasks like passing out papers, sharpening pencils, cleaning a blackboard and taking messages to other teachers and the principal's office. Teachers can alternate these classroom tasks weekly so that all students are able to get out of their desks from time to time. Parents should assign tasks like cleaning the kitchen, yard work, vacuuming and dusting to keep their children busy. This helps children focus their energy on their assignments and not on fidgeting.
Encourage Physical Activity
Parents should encourage their children to play sports or participate in physical activity during the day, according to Helpguide.org. Children do not have to participate in an organised sport. Simple activities like running around before and after school will help a child release some of his nervous energy. Good activities for fidgeting children include roller skating, running and martial arts. At school, teachers should make sure fidgeting children never miss gym class or recess.
Give Fidgeting Objects
Fidgeting children often do things like tapping their pens and pencils, which can be noisy and can distract other children or family members. Parents and teachers can give their children quieter fidgeting objects like worry beads and squeeze balls. In this way, a child can release her energy without distracting other people. Parents can also encourage their child's interest in hobbies that require constant hand movement. Kid-friendly hobbies include painting, knitting, embroidery, colouring and drawing, and playing with clay.
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