Monday, April 12, 2010

A Wiggly Kid

Is your child "wiggly?" 

It's a dumb question, I know, because most kids wiggle~at least SOME! But I am talking about the wiggly kid who absolutely can't sit still: the one who moves about in his/her chair~dances not walks through life~sings constantly~a living substance of MOVEMENT and NOISE!

I have two like this.

When they were littles, I really struggled to teach them to sit still.  As a pastor's family, our littles were on view every church service, and generally on the front row so that everyone who wanted to be distracted could be by a little boy who layed on the front pew and ran his cars up and down...  He colored, did puzzles, hugged his teddy bear "Big" who was as big as he was, and BIGGER~our son was a constant thing of movement. Now he was pretty quiet compared to his sister. The sister was always talking or singing. She danced on her toes EVERYWHERE she went~of course as a mature grand lady all of the teenage years today, she is TOO MATURE and serious to do such! Ha!  She draws/sketches anytime she is sitting today or sometimes she takes notes.  I was a note taker and foot mover to prevent the wiggles...  I guess we all find methods of participation when we are wigglers!

Thinking about homeschooling "wiggly kids" reminds me that when we had foster children, our public school teachers were PRO-medication for several. Way back then, I had little choice.  I was not in control of the medical treatment of those kids in my care. I know it sounds odd, but foster parents have no legal control beyond the washing, cooking and love for a child in their care~control resides with the state's social workers, and a suggestion from school professionals generally meant appointments IF not prescriptions and followups as well...soooooooooooooooo when I had my own children, as they were "wiggles" first I didn't WANT to see that wiggling. I didn't want to believe it was possible for them to be "wigglers" when we had tried so hard to take good care of them AS IF my care could stop the nature of WIGGLING...only in part. 

Wigglers are the kinds of kids who find sitting still not a bore, but literally impossible to accomplish.  "Wiggling" isn't a medical definition or description, but it does adequatley describe what kids who do this DO~All children wiggle, but this is a discussion of PERVASIVE wiggling~the "I can't stop" kind of wiggling...Oh my!

Well, living with two, I have done some research, looked at options, read a lot of stuff~good and bad.  There's a ton of stuff to read on the topic of hyperactivity and inattention.  Of course all treatment and methods begin with a good medical evaluation to see if there is a biological connection. Most likely if a parent wiggles, one or more of the children will, in many families. Since I wiggle, and recognized wiggling, I was STILL resistant to believing my littles were wigglers, but they were...Oh yes they were and still are!

So wigglers can become movers and shakers for sure!  Finding ways to  tap into all that energy and creativity as well.  Think about constant blinking.  Open and close your eyes repeatedly in succession for a minute and that's what some brains of the wiggly kid is like so I've been told.  Imagine being in a totally dark room and blinking like that.  Whew! No wonder kids have trouble with learning who wiggle. 

Some have found dietary measures adequate to help their wiggler. I can say that we've reduced sugar and no caffiene in our home! But it did take medication to help us, but it wasn't a cure all by any means.  We had to find ways to teach and allow wiggling to become part of the education.  When we were on overload, we got out our our seats and moved. We acted stuff out rather than just reading and studying.  We used art mediums of all kinds and on our feet we moved and went.  Physical education was accomplished with scooters, bikes, trampolines, and more moving types of things, and today the kids run...because they WANT to run! They still wiggle but have found more control.  Control~them being in control can be taught one second at a time. Set a goal and help them work towards it, little by little. Is the goal sitting through a story for a read a loud for the first or unsuccessful millionth time? Then  find a shorter story and read 1/2 or less to get some control. Increase as your child learns or figures out..also allow the hands to be busy with things like action figures or silly putty while they sit. This really can help.  Allowing some movement will help a wiggler!

The challenge of a wiggly child is one that over time can be tackled and learning will be accomplished.  Do you have a wiggler? What's working and what hasn't?  One thing is sure, wiggling is a challenge, just ask your child...

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