Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Child Who Can't Sit Still


 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, I wonder if anyone has experiences a similar case and could suggest any 'solutions'...

 

I work in pre-school and I have a child who is nearly 4, extremely bright, aritculate and enthusiastic.... our problem is that she can't/won't sit down for more than about 30 seconds at a time!

 

This isn't a concentration issue because she maintains eye conact, answers questions, contributes to discussions all beatifully, doesn't generally interrupt, listens and responds to others.... but all the while she is up and down, up and down, leaning over other children and it can be a bit problemattic to others.

 

Each child has their own mat to sit on and we've tried having her sit next to an adult.

 

Any suggestions for improving her ability to sit still and on her bottom?

 

Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a similar child some years ago and we played to her vivid imagination with a big pot of magic glue! We would remind her about sitting and if she still bounced up and down, pretended to stir a big pot and paint some glue on her chair. When she sat down we told her she couldn't move until .......(usually it was snack time, so when she finished her drink). Amazingly it really did work as she enjoyed playing along with the teasing.

Daft I know but sometimes these things just work.

As for serious solutions I am afraid I don't have any, but have you talked to her parents? A child recently who had trouble sitting at the table, didn't have a table at home and just wasn't used to it.

Caro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Finleysmaid

 

She is well co-ordinated, has very good speech, knowledgeable about many things I wouldn't really expect from a child of her age - it's not really a concentration issue, more the fact that she doesn't sit still, has to be standing up, then sits down, next minutes she's up again (yet still complies with all other requests!) it's more that it is so disruptive to the other children who are working hard to follow the conversations....

 

Does this make more sense?

Thanks for your quick reply! :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what do her parents say about her behaviour at home?(sorry lots of questions!)maybe try and place her at the end of a table ...if sitting do so on the inside of an adult(if that makes sense) if you want her to sit still for story time try a small stress ball or little toy to fiddle with (something that is now used with older children...the theory is that if a child has an active mind then they may need to occupy the physical to concentrate on the mental) try the timers they work really well maybe along the lines of i want you to play with the playdough for 4 minutes and then we'll do some dancing(or whatever)so that a moment of stillness is rewarded by activity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sympathise with this problem, I have a couple of boys like this in my year one class! Some people say that we should be making children sit before they are ready, but then of course you have the flip side of her disturbing other children and the fact that it's going to make her school life very difficult come september. Then of course there's the issue of her probably wanting to take part in the activities where sitting is required and you can't exclude her!

 

Have you tried explaining to her why she needs to stay sat down and then reminding her when she starts getting up. Sometimes it just takes a bit of retraining of old habits and you find that actually the child you thought couldn't do something suddenly can! A sand timer and 'you need to stay in your chair for x minutes' might help as well, particularly if she's bright.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She could be seeking some sort of sensory input. You could try giving her a fiddle toy or some white tack to play with. Another option is to sit her on ball or inflatable cushion so that she's continuously using her balance mechanism whilst sitting.

 

If she really can't stay sitting then could you agree with her an action she could take to relieve her desire to move. She could be allowed to walk to the door and back or perhaps round in a circle then return to her place.

 

TBH I also think 3 years old is too young to be worrying about this too much. She is quite small and could well sort it out for herself quite soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you talked to the parents about potential food allergies? That sounds to me very much like some kind of hyperactivity triggered possibly by what she's had for breakfast. Do you notice it going up and down in relation to when she eats, i.e. is she more fidgety after snack time?

 

Either that or she is a VERY kinaesthetic learner! Love the magic glue idea. Also the idea of time can work well - challenge her to gradually extend the amount of time she can sit down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Suzies comment reminded me of a child we had who was always hyper and fidgety after snack or when having had toast for breakfast... no one believed us, the only thing he was eating was toast , fruit and water- this could nto cause the reaction we described 20 mins after eating, but it happened every day we had toast...

 

So I did a bit of research and it turns out the preservative they use in bread to make it stale more slowly does have this reaction in some people... side effects of calcuim propionate, under behavioural changes... so I checked all our bread and yes it did contain it, as did the one mum used... both of us changed bread we used and changes were quite dramatic.. although mum had not noticed any difference as he was always hyperactive at home, once we removed this form his diet he became calmer all round and mum was happier as he was easier at home too.. we did have mum on board though..

 

may not have any relevance, but we ensured it was never in any bread we used in the setting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the years we have had many children who had difficulty in sitting still but not until recently did I experience a case that reflects yours almost to the letter.

 

Our child was exceptionally 'bright' and a high achieving child in all areas. Like your child she was articulate, enthusiastic etc but she could not sit still for any length of time at all, It became clear this was not a 'wouldn't' issue but very much a couldn't - all the various strategies we tried had litte if any success. She was very slightly better at sitting on the floor as opposed to a chair but still found it very very difficult.

 

It has been a huge learning curve for us - in came the occupational therapist and the child now has a special cushion to sit on, a small chair with sides, and a lap bag that goes over her knees. She was always a happy child but is more so now! She actually has a diagnosis but I cannot remember the exact name - all to do with sensory processing. The lap bag thing looks like a mini version of those wheatbags you warm in the microwave (hers doesn't get warmed though!) it has a child friendly animal on it and she loves it. The cushion is called a 'wobble cushion' not sure why as it enables her to sit still. It is a made to measure job and is angled a bit like a wedge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw something like that in a catalogue earlier this week. I think these lap bags are slightly heavy and just 'remind' the child to stay seated by physical means.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the years we have had many children who had difficulty in sitting still but not until recently did I experience a case that reflects yours almost to the letter.

 

Our child was exceptionally 'bright' and a high achieving child in all areas. Like your child she was articulate, enthusiastic etc but she could not sit still for any length of time at all, It became clear this was not a 'wouldn't' issue but very much a couldn't - all the various strategies we tried had litte if any success. She was very slightly better at sitting on the floor as opposed to a chair but still found it very very difficult.

 

It has been a huge learning curve for us - in came the occupational therapist and the child now has a special cushion to sit on, a small chair with sides, and a lap bag that goes over her knees. She was always a happy child but is more so now! She actually has a diagnosis but I cannot remember the exact name - all to do with sensory processing. The lap bag thing looks like a mini version of those wheatbags you warm in the microwave (hers doesn't get warmed though!) it has a child friendly animal on it and she loves it. The cushion is called a 'wobble cushion' not sure why as it enables her to sit still. It is a made to measure job and is angled a bit like a wedge.

 

 

I saw something like that in a catalogue earlier this week. I think these lap bags are slightly heavy and just 'remind' the child to stay seated by physical means.

 

The weight of the lap pad and the constant need to adjust their balance on the wobble cushion give the child a the sensory input they are seeking by moving around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everybody for your replies! Lots of things to try and food for thought.

 

I've suggested that mum keeps of note of diet and extent of 'fidgetiness' to see if there is a link....

 

Will also try some of the other suggestions!

 

Thank you again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Much as I hate to put labels on children... if you try everything else and don't find a difference, maybe you could consider dyspraxia.

I'm no expert but I did a course years ago and from what I remember your praxia is the thing that links all your senses together and makes sense of them! People with dyspraxia can have problems with sitting still because the messages from their eyes and ears and the feel of the chair on their bottom get all jumbled and the child has to constantly move to create new messages to keep reminding their brain where they are. As far as I understood it this usually leads to fidgetting more than wandering but just thought I'd mention it as something to bear in mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO it would be unusual to have dyspraxia if the child is well coordinated and a fluent speaker at 4. There are other medical conditions that it could be but if she has no other problems then probably not worth diagnosing just finding a way that works for her. I have heard great things about weight bearing blankets ...has anyone used these in their setting....i have a child with possible adhd at the moment...do you think these would help and can i use them without 'permission' from another professional?

(sorry bit of a hijack there :o )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)