Inside: When utilized correctly fidget tools can be a great way to support children with behavioral challenges in the classroom.
Fidget tools are fantastic for helping your child if they struggle with attention, focus, or anxiety. They are great tools for teaching self-regulation and encouraging boundary setting, to enhance your child’s learning. If your child has sensory processing issues, fidget tools are just what they need!
It is important to teach your child how to get the maximum benefit from their fidget tool. Have you ever seen a squeeze ball tossed across a classroom, or obsess about the shapes they are making with Silly Putty? Too often we hand the fidgets to children without any instructions on how, or when, to use them. We think they will just know what to do! Then we get angry with the children when they play with them or use them inappropriately. That’s why it is so important to teach kids how to use fidget tools.
Setting your child up for success is as easy as following these 7 steps:
A Fidget Tool is not a toy – it is a tool that will help your child to focus or calm down. Explain to your child that this is a strategy to help them improve their focus on a task. Used properly, this fidget tool can help them be a better listener, and hear what the teacher is saying so learning comes easier. It can even help your child slow their busy thoughts and calm their body down.
Observe and talk with your child about when they need to use a fidget tool. It is very empowering when your child talks control of their behavior and decides to make a change in their learning. Sometimes your child may not realize they are not focusing, so you could offer suggestions about situations when a fidget tool may help. Sitting on the mat, or during math might be a good time to use a fidget tool.
Be clear about how to use fidgets at home, and in school. Communicate these boundaries with your child and role play some situations that are not negotiable!
Encourage your child to plan ahead and teach them to choose the times they want a fidget tool. Your child will feel proud when they notice they are able to regulate their body more. It’s great if they have the fidget tool ready whenever they do handwriting.
Using the fidget tool inappropriately will mean that it may be taken away. Using it to help your child calm down, or focus their attention are great ways to use the fidget tool. Catch your child using the fidget tool correctly and remember to encourage them!
It is not ok for your child to disrupt or distract others with their fidget tool. It is to help your child learn. If it interferes with other students trying to access their learning, another tool or strategy may be needed.
Always put your fidget tool where it belongs. In the basket, on your desk, in your pencil case or in your pocket are some great places to keep your fidget. Then it is right where you left it for when you need it.
Teaching your child how to use tools to support them and help them to achieve enables your child to develop self control and self regulation. You are scaffolding your child for success within the class and their academic journey!
To discuss tips and strategies in greater detail head over to The Journey where we unpack these ideas and many others, as we empower Moms with wisdom, support and community to help their child.