What is appropriate fidgeting?
For example, a child or college student may be able to focus better while playing with a toy or object, but if it takes away from a writing assignment, it is not an appropriate strategy. However, background music, that is either very familiar or without lyrics, might help the child focus on the writing assignment.
How to choose appropriate fidgets
- First pick the right type of fidget
- Visual: visual reminders, such as a timer with a visual cue
- Auditory: background music, white noise, or audiobooks
- Tactile: textured toys or objects, weighted blankets
- Movement: sitting on an exercise ball while studying or pacing while on the phone
- Smell or taste: aroma therapy that is calming, like lavender, or energizing, like cinnamon.
- Next make sure that the fidget doesn’t distrack from the task
- Pair auditory fidgets with movement or visual tasks, example: listen to music while cleaning bedroom or reading a textbook
- Pair movement fidgets with writing, visual or auditory tasks: sit on an exercise disc or spinning a keyring fidget in class
- Pair visual fidgets with tedious, quiet tasks: use a timer with a visual countdown when taking a quiz or a test
- Don’t use strategies that engage the same sense as the task
- Don’t pair auditory music with listening to the teacher
- Don’t pair a visual strategy when a child needs to watch the board in class
In a future post, I’ll share my favorite fidgets. What successful fidget strategies have you or your kids tried? Let me know in the comments.
(Photo from Top Left: Pencil Fidgets by Abilitations; The Ultimate Fidget by Sensory University; Therapy Tangle by Tangle Creations; Balance Cushion by Isokinetics)