Why won’t my child sit still?

Most children love to move! Some move around so much it can be tiring just watching them. Movement is a part of everyday life for a child to play, learn, grow and explore. However, sometimes moving too much may interfere with a child’s ability to participate in everyday day activities including eating, playing and learning. There are many reasons why your child may find it difficult to sit still:

Sensory Seeking:

Some children actively seek out and need more sensory input, such as movement, in attempt to stay regulated and alert. Other children have so much energy that they require more movement input during the day to feel calm. This may disrupt their learning and the learning of others. This is common in many children, both with and without a specific diagnosis.

Tip: To get the movement they need (without disrupting others), have your child trial sitting on a move n sit wedge cushion, gym ball seat, hokki stool, jellyfish seat or simply tie a theraband around the legs of the chair so they can push their legs and feet against it.

Posture and Muscle Tone:

Many children who have poor posture due to reduced muscle strength or low muscle tone find it difficult to sit still in a static position for extended periods. They compensate by constantly moving and changing positions to sustain an upright posture. This can affect a child’s concentration and their level of alertness, especially in a classroom environment.

Tip: Sitting on a move n sit wedge cushion can provide movement while supporting an upright posture. Also, provide regular movement breaks!

Poor concentration:

Children who are easily distracted, lack confidence or experience difficulties with particular learning tasks,  may struggle to remain focused and find it very challenging to sit still for extended periods of time.

Tip: Use a visual schedule, provide visual demonstration and extra scaffolding where possible, and break tasks down into simple steps. Make sure to praise a child’s efforts, encouraging a growth mindset.

Over Tired:

When adults find themselves overtired we buy a coffee (or two) and continue with the day. Children who are overtired tend to use movement (instead of coffee), to rev themselves up. Compensating with movement may be the only way your child know hows to get through a school day, a difficult task, or a situation that requires them to concentrate or listen intently.

Tip: Provide regular movement breaks before, during and after a task that requires increased concentration and focus.

The Alert Program is a fun and engaging program that is easy to implement at home, school and socially. It was developed to teach children and adults a wide range of simple, low-budget strategies and activities that develops a child’s self-awareness and their ability to self regulate appropriately throughout the day. This can be easily integrated into daily routines and supports learning, attention and positive behaviour.

For more information on the Alert Program or advice on how we can assist your child, feel free to contact Empowered Kids through our website or email us directly at admin@empoweredkidsot.com.au