There’s always one. Or two. Or more than two…
We all know that kid who just can’t sit still. They are in constant motion. They find endless opportunities to leave their seat, approach the teacher, throw something in the trash can, or sharpen their pencil. How challenging, right? Here are some tips from my own experience working with “fidgety” learners – they may work for you, and they may not, but it’s worth a try. For your sanity and the success of your students, in no particular order, here we go:
- Try using an inflatable seat cushion on his/her chair to provide movement “in the seat.”
- Check for proper child-seat desk-ratio. Hips, knees and ankles should be at 90-degrees.
- Ask the child to sit up straight and give periodic firm pressure on the child’s shoulders.
- Provide movement breaks throughout the day by giving the student “jobs” which allow him/her to get up and move through the classroom.
- Allow the student to stand or lie on their stomach on the floor while working.
- Try using a variety of fidget toys such as squeeze balls, pencil toppers, erasers, koosh balls, silly putty, etc.
- Try spacing the children so that he/she is not sitting near enough to touch another child.
- Try using visual markers (e.g. carpet squares, tape on rug, flat cushions, etc.) to designate personal space when sitting on the floor.
- Help the child identify steps needed to begin and accomplish a task. If possible write down or even draw the steps.
- Give short assignments so the child can feel instant success.
- Try giving one direction or part of a task at a time.
- Utilize warm-up activities before difficult assignments (Pick a few exercises to use before each task.)
- Wall or chair push-ups.
- Isometric exercises like pushing/pulling his/her own hands.
- Shake all body parts in a sequence (hands, arms, shoulders, etc.).
- Stretching (neck, shoulders, arms, hands, etc.)
- Stand up or sit in chair and stamp feet vigorously.
- Squeeze a ball.
- Student place hands palm down on the desk. Ask student to raise fingers one at a time from the desk surface.
- Students place both hands on their desks. Ask students to spread fingers apart and then slide them back together.
- Students place hands palm down, then palm up, in simultaneous and rapid motion.
- Students make circles by touching thumbs to finger tips one at a time.
- Students open hands as wide as possible and then make a fist repeatedly.
- Students bend wrists up and down repeatedly.
- Students stand and put palms flat on desk, then bear their body weight on their palms for a count of five.
Any other ideas?