Fidgeting drives me nuts.
I’m just going to be honest and throw that out there.
When Drama Queen was learning how to read and she was sitting on my lap, she wiggled like something crazy and it drove me batty! I wanted her to sit still because I can’t focus like that — but she NEEDS to wiggle! After I figured that out I had her sit next to me instead of on my lap and we were able to work that out.
It’s already obvious that Little Prince needs to keep his hands busy while he listens. He doesn’t sit still well either. Sometimes he just hops up and runs to his room to get another car or action fiure! That also drives me batty. He’s so funny, though. I’ll call him back and he’ll call out, “I’m listening!” As if to say, “Keep going, I’ll be right back.” Most of the time he doesn’t look like he’s listening either, and sometimes I get a little frustrated. I’m quickly finding out that he really IS listening more than he looks like he is. Most of the time he has more answers than the girls do.
It’s crazy for me to think about because I like people to LOOK at me when I’m teaching or giving some instructions. When I’m imparting something important I need to make eye to eye contact. But my son can barely make eye contact and to connect with him you really need to hold his hand or touch his arm. Drama Queen needs to be told to listen carefully and repeat it back. Princess is most like me, making eye contact, confirming what I want her to do and running off. She doesn’t like distracting noises or movements when she’s learning, either. She has her own set of challenges though. She does get bored sometimes and sometimes I catch her drifting off into space daydreaming. That doesn’t really go with this post, though. ; ) Point is, it was really hard at first for me to see what my youngest two needed and to see their fidgeting and wiggling as something other than disobeying and not paying attention.
So my frustration with it is getting better as I try to keep it in perspective and just make sure that they’re still listening. But I do want to have at least a FEW ground rules. You know..like no hopping up and running off in the middle of the reading. I haven’t actually laid out any “rule” rules, it’s more like I’m trying to pay attention and guide them into appropriate behavior. In addition, I’m trying to work WITH their needs so that I get less frustrated – like sending Little Prince to go pick out a few action figures and come take a seat on the floor in front of me before I start reading history.
One more thing I’ve been thinking about doing is creating a little box of THINGS… quiet things… that they can pick from while I’m reading. Notsomuch during math but I read science, history and bible worldview aloud. Things for keeping hands busy, things with textures and movement and even things for visual interest to not leave Princess out. It’s a thought. I’m wondering if anyone else has tried something like this?
Fidgeting during lessons is just BOUND to happen I suppose. Maybe it’s during math for one kid and while listening for another but all kids are bound to get bored and fidget at some point. I suppose it’s probably how we handle it, and how we teach them to handle it, that matters the most — don’t you think?