Wiggly Kids

Have you ever planned out an activity or schoolwork for your child but it just all goes wrong? They aren’t interested, they complain, they are hungry, and we all know the list goes on. Well if your kids are anything like mine, sometimes they just do not want to sit still. Can we blame them?


Pretend you are in a work meeting/class and your body signals to you that you need to move or adjust yourself. As adults we have learned strategies to honor our bodies needs, like bouncing your legs, playing with your pencil, getting up to use bathroom, having a snack and so forth. But kids are still learning what is appropriate behavior. They might not understand that their bodies are telling them to move. So instead they whine and drive us crazy. They need the tools and it is our job to teach them this!


On average and depending on age, kids need between 1-3 hours of large motor movement each day. This includes walking, running, biking, swinging, climbing, swimming, whatever! Make sure you are giving them plenty of opportunity to move before asking them to sit down for a long period of time. For our family this means we try to go outdoors for a minimum of 1 hour in the morning (often times closer to 2 hours) and 1 hour in the afternoon. We have dance parties, jumping off the couches, and lots of other fun ways to get those wiggles out in-between those larger chunks of outdoor time. Let's focus on how to empower our children to listen to their bodies, be in tune with what they need, and give them the tools to be successful.


MOVEMENT TIPS


Get the wiggles out first:

  • If you need to complete a task, try finding a fun movement song to dance out your wiggles first. I am talking about EVERYONE (yes you too - get up and move your body!). They will really enjoy watching mom or dads dance moves and it might just help them sit still a little while longer.

Find an age appropriate location:

  • Often time’s kids struggle to focus because the seat they are in just isn’t the right size for them. We want them to feel comfortable, so take a good look at where you are asking your child to sit. Get creative. Go outside, sit on the couch, or even get a smaller table just their size.

Timing:

  • Observe your child for a few days. See what time of day they are most active and what time of day they are sitting intensely with their toys. Jot some things down and figure out their natural rhythm. Remember to set realistic expectations and goals for how long they might be able to sit and focus for.

Needs:

  • Before sitting down for something important, fill their tank up! Make sure they are rested and well fed. Or better yet, bring a snack tray over and let them munch while they work with you! I know I like to eat a snack while working sometimes.



If you find your little one is having a hard time focusing - I encourage you to just pick something to get moving, and you'll find afterwards they are much more likely to listen!


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