With summer coming to an end, it is time our children start getting into “school mode”, which unfortunately involves more sitting. Young children especially can have trouble staying still during the school day. Parents can make school life – and home life – easier by teaching a simple and subtle way to get some movement in without causing a disruption in school.
My favorite tool for providing some movement on the sly is the “chair push-up”. The child is sitting at his desk, facing forward, feet on the floor (as usual), placing his hands on the chair on each side. He can then lift himself off the chair by pushing his hands against it, hovering his bottom off of the chair for a second or two. Even if he does not totally lift himself off the chair, just tensing his arm muscles (particularly his triceps) by pushing against the chair can be enough movement to quell the desire to squirm.
After you teach this strategy to your child, practice it at home first. The first few tries with this move can have an busy-bodied child swinging wildly…which is kinda not the point. Work on making the move subtle…it will still be effective! Also, share this strategy with your child’s teacher ASAP. While this movement is (ideally!) subtle, it can be noticeable to other children sitting nearby, who may be temped to blurt out “What are you doing?!” or some other dramatic exclamation. (I remember these theatrical hollers from my days teaching primary school!) Once your child’s teacher knows about this strategy and that it may be effective wiggle-prevention, he/she will be prepared to handle any comments or questions from other children, should they arise.