This week parents, students and teachers will be fidgeting a lot! We have never faced such a fraught start to the academic year and fidgeting is a way that we can self- soothe.
It can also be extremely irritating!
When children come to us at Hummingbird Learning Centre, a parent joins the session too. Thinking that it will annoy me, often the parent will interject when their child fidgets. But fidgeting doesn’t bother me. I will often give a child something to fidget with as I realise that it is simply fulfilling a physical need and not a sign of disinterest.
I know that fidgeting helps many children to focus, so, years ago, I made a conscious decision to change my reaction to it. I cannot control how any child fidgets, but I can control how I react to those actions. By choosing to see a fidget as a positive, it no longer bothers me. When it no longer bothers me, the kids can only use it to help themselves get focused rather than attempt to distract me with it. However, some fidgets, like clicking a pen or tapping a pencil on a desk will try the patience of a saint and so we need to replace these with more acceptable options.
So here are 3 useful fidgets to use in school and are easy to keep sanitised:
When using a fidget, the student needs to be discrete and not draw attention to themselves. Other children ‘telling tales’ or slagging in the yard afterwards can be counterproductive. I recommend discussing the use of a fidget with the teacher in advance and agreeing boundaries. The fidget toy fad a few years ago did nothing to endear teachers to fidgets!
Fidgeting is a real issue. It is not bad behaviour, rather a strong indicator that children are not getting enough movement throughout the day. Ideally, they would be playing outside a lot more but that can be difficult in the modern world. Coronavirus is placing additional strains on us all so having an easy release valve through fidgeting will benefit not just the fidgeting student, but by reducing their stress, reduce interruption in the classroom – thus benefiting all their classmates and the teacher too. So, if your child is a fidget, or is anxious returning to school get them a fidget and explain to the teacher that fidgeting will help them to focus.