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Child Won't Sit Still? It Might Be a Sensory Issue
Prolonged sitting can be difficult for many if not most, children. However, when it comes to sitting for a meal or sitting in the classroom, it shouldn’t be a constant battle that occurs regularly. If your child just won’t sit still, it could be a sensory issue. Keep reading to learn more about why your child won’t sit still, understanding sensory issues, and how sensory fidget toys can help your child stay still during mealtime and in the classroom.
Poor sitting tolerance in children can stem from several things, one of them being sensory issues. Young children are sensory creatures and interpret the world using all their senses. These are the building blocks for all other learning, including higher brain function. The balance, core muscle strength, and focus needed for prolonged sitting are higher-level functions, so if there are sensory compromises, there will be challenges. (source: Early Childhood Professional)
Understanding Sensory Issues
Since children with sensory issues are already working with a deficit as far as their sensory needs are concerned, it is important to make sure your child is as calm as possible before they need to sit for a prolonged period of time. Knowing whether your child is sensory-seeking or sensory-avoiding is essential so that you can give your child the proper stimulation.
- Stand too close when talking to others and not have a good sense of personal space.
- Have an unusual tolerance for pain.
- Walk with loud, heavy steps.
- Enjoy jumping, hopping, and bumping and crashing into things and people — sometimes to the point of being unsafe.
- Not know their own strength. (Kids may rip paper when writing, break toys, or hurt others by accident.)
- Prefer “rough play” on the playground.
- Touch people and objects often.
- Seek out or make loud noises.
- Chew on shirt sleeves or collars and other non-food items.
Sensory-avoiding signs include:
- Not like being hugged or kissed, even by family.
- Be startled and frightened by unexpected sounds and bright lights.
- Hear background noises other people aren’t able to detect.
- Worry about being bumped in line or touched by other kids while playing.
- Refuse to wear scratchy, tight, or otherwise “uncomfortable” clothes.
- Be wary and avoidant of swings and other playground equipment that provides vestibular or proprioceptive input.
- Have trouble knowing where their body is in relation to other people or objects.
- Prefer to be in quieter environments and avoid crowds.
How to Help Your Child Sit Still
Children with sensory issues DO have the ability to sit still! We just need to ensure we are providing our children with the proper sensory stimulation they need to calm their system and focus on what’s at hand, whether in the classroom or at mealtime.
Some great ways to calm your child’s system and help them sit still include:
- Heavy work. Lifting and carrying heavy things are a great way to calm a child’s system before sitting. Have them carry books, take out the trash, or help bring in groceries.
- Improve their strength. As mentioned, balance and core strength are important for prolonged sitting. By strengthening these muscles, they have a better chance of sitting still. Incorporate sit-ups, Supermans, and other core-strengthening exercises in their daily lives.
- Use a fidget toy. Fidget toys are a great way to give children the stimulation they need in real-time without having to leave their seats.
One of the best ways to help your child sit still at mealtime is to give them a lunchbox that makes mealtime fun, interesting, and calming to their senses! Innobaby’s FLEX&LOCK KIDS FlexBox Set is full of ways to get your kid excited about mealtime.
- Made with Platinum Silicone: This material does not require plasticizers for its pliability. It's pure and heat resistant, so you can stop worrying about chemicals leaching into food when warming food.
- Make Lunchtime Fun: Watch your kids, even the pickiest eaters, finish their healthy meals by making their lunchtime fun, thanks to the interactive FlexCharms that will keep them entertained! You can even reward your healthy eaters with their favorite charms for trying new foods or staying in their chair during their meal.
- Customizable Decorations: FlexCharm comes in a variety of shapes & colors, allowing kids to explore and reward healthy mealtime in a fun way! Made with flexible & durable silicone, the charms are easy to wash & dry for your child's next interactive playtime.
- Leak-Proof Protection & Air Tight: Enjoy leak-proof protection without the need for rubber seals, thanks to a 2-in-1 silicone plate that doubles as a leakproof seal. Join our mission to create a worry-free & sensible lunchbox that does not mold or leak and encourages healthy & waste-free meals. Win-Win for parents & kids!
Microwavable & Oven Safe: The tray is made with heat-resistant & BPA-Free platinum grade silicone. Simply remove the tray and reheat. Safe for oven use and safe to microwave.
Sensory toys do not have to be loud, bright, or disruptive to other students. SPIKE’s line of sensory fidget toys are not only great for the classroom, but they are quiet, discreet, and perfect for sensory kids!
These SPIKE Silicone Fidget Balls are going to be your child’s new best friend. Made in an adorable pineapple-like shape and three stimulating colors, kids (and adults!) of all ages won’t be able to put them down. Easy to fit in the palm of your hand, these balls have tons of textures and ways to enjoy them. Squish, pop, float, toss, or pull—these balls will help keep focus and fulfill sensory needs.
For more parenting hacks, tips for parents of sensory kids, and more amazing family products, visit us at innobaby.com!