If you’ve followed Smart Simple Homeschool on social media, you’ve likely seen photos of my kids laying on the floor working on something, standing at the kitchen counter with math books, in a chair at the kitchen table with a book, sprawled across the couch with a lap desk and writing paper, flopped on a bed with work spread everywhere surrounding them. While one of my kiddos much prefers to sit at a table and work, the rest of them go from place to place as their mood dictates. In general, this is just fine with me but from time to time, what we are doing requires us to sit and to sit still. So here are the tricks I use to help some very active and wiggly boys to sit still when the need arises.
- Feed Them – During times when I know there is going to be a large amount of information presented to the kids through a read aloud [textbook or other source] or through oral means, I often make sure they have something to eat while they are listening. This may mean that I do these parts of our day during breakfast or lunch or I may even pull together a special snack in another part of our day.
- Give Them Gum – Chewing gum can take the wiggles right out of most kiddos. The process of chewing keeps them busy and slows down their brain allowing them to pay attention to the topic at hand. This trick has saved us during several outings. especially those where we have gone to a theater and the presenter is father away from us.
- Let Them Doodle – In traditional school settings, kids who doodle are often called off task and inattentive; however, doodling can actually increase attention and reduce the wiggling – making sitting easier.
- Foot Shapes – Sometimes we need to be able to sit in a place where food and gum aren’t appropriate options and doodling isn’t feasible. In these times, when the kids start feeling wiggly, they use their feet to write in the air. This motion is not distracting to others and does not draw attention their direction. I first teach my children to write their name and draw basic shapes in the air and then we move on to the ABC’s and spelling words.
At some point in our lives we all have to sit for a longer amount of time than we would like to. Having a couple strategies under our belts for keeping ourselves from going bonkers is a real life saver. Don’t let the moments when sitting is required get in the way of your homeschooling journey. Keep it smart. Keep it simple.