Any parent knows that staying still can be difficult for young children, but the truth is that adults aren’t much different than kids when it comes to sitting quietly. Think about it: have your thoughts ever drifted off during a boring meeting? Have you ever found yourself struggling to stay awake during a lecture or training? Most people can’t help but start fidgeting when stuck at a desk or conference room table with nothing to do. This is because sitting for long periods of time significantly reduces our ability to pay attention.
If it’s so hard for adults to pay attention when they’re sitting down without anything to engage their interest, isn’t it silly of us to expect young children to do so? Mike Huber thinks so. In his article Engaging Active Learners: What Children Are Telling Us When They Won’t Sit Still, Huber says, “If children sit quietly while we read a book, we do not know if all the children listened to the book. In fact, the child who bounces up and down during an exciting plot twist is probably the one most focused on the book. Children don’t just listen with their ears. They show their understanding through whole body movements.”
Brain research shows that children learn through movement, but it isn’t always easy for parents and teachers to keep track of a child that’s constantly moving. This can make sitting a child down in front of a screen all the more tempting. While there’s nothing wrong with putting on a TV show or handing your child an e-learning tablet or smartphone when you need a moment of peace, don’t rely too heavily on electronic devices to amuse your child as these can become addictive.
So if your child can’t stop wiggling, fidgeting, bouncing, or just moving in general, don’t worry. It simply means their brain is sending them a message to start moving. When you notice your child is getting antsy, let them take a walk outside or put on some fun music for them to dance to. Do your best to help your child “get the wiggles out” and express themselves through movement. In fact, try getting up and joining them…you may feel better yourself!
Source: Community Playthings