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Fidgeting in Children

Parents and teachers look at the habit of fidgeting in children as something that is bad and inappropriate. Read on to know more about fidgeting in children.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Sep 4, 2018
The 'act of moving about restlessly' or 'the behavior of being continually in motion' is termed as fidgeting. When a person cannot sit still and constantly moves his/her seat, holding something, playing around, he or she is called fidgety. Fidgeting in children is a common phenomenon, because children are full of energy and love moving their bodies.
The child may fidget with anything right from hair, fingers, clothing or items on the table. Swaying one's legs repeatedly while sitting is also fidgeting. Often parents receive complaints from school teachers that their children are fidgeting in class, which causes them to worry. However, should fidgeting in children be a cause of concern?
Fidgeting in Children: No Need to Worry
Fidgeting can be an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptom. However, it is important to note that not all children exhibiting fidgeting are suffering from ADHD. This is a common misdiagnosis that happens.
Girl With Curly Hair
One cannot label every child who fidgets in class as a classic type of ADHD. Sometimes, the lack of challenge for certain gifted boys and girls at school makes them fidget in class. They may find what is happening in class too dull or boring and this leads them to fidget in class.
Some kids have a genetic disposition to fidget and tend to move around more than other kids. They are constantly moving and are mostly unaware of this habit of theirs. Instead of worrying about this habit and giving them unnecessary punishments, it is advised to accept this nature of theirs and allow them to fidget.
Parents Reading Book With Son
While teaching them often parents feel they are not concentrating on what's being taught, however, check their comprehension after the conversation. They actually manage to concentrate despite all the wiggling and fidgeting.
Allow fidgety kids to have something in their hands or laps while teaching them. This keeps them calmer and happier. Just make sure the items you give them to fidget with are light in weight and also do not create any kind of racket.
Children Counting In A Class Room
Encourage such children to express themselves in a positive manner, that is allow them to play with an object without disrupting the class or hurling the object at somebody else.
Psychologists found that children who were permitted to move their hands freely were able to learn faster than other children who were prohibited from doing so. The various hand movements help kids think, learn and speak. Thus, teachers should allow children to fidget in class, because this helps them grasp what is being taught quickly.
How to Stop Fidgeting
Although there is no way to completely do away with fidgeting, one can minimize fidgeting to some extent. Teachers and psychologists are always on the lookout for new ways, to stop kids from fidgeting in class and concentrate on what's being taught.
Some teachers brought in stability balls in their classrooms and had children sit on them instead of chairs during class. They found that this change reduced the amount of fidgeting considerably in class. However, since long-term use of stability balls results in bad posture, the students are made to get up and stretch after every half an hour.
This idea has reduced the amount of wiggling and slouching in class, because the child can bounce on the ball, move a little, etc. while sitting on the ball. Providing a stimulating environment for the child will help reduce the amount of fidgeting around. Even holding and squeezing a stress ball during class will help the kids.
Unless fidgeting causes distress to others or turns to agitation, there is no need to worry about it. Fidgeting is not such a bad thing. Help the kids redirect their energies and you will find them responding better to what they are being taught.