Fidgeting, often perceived as a nuisance, is a behaviour commonly associated with children. They wiggle, tap, and fiddle with objects seemingly without purpose. However, recent research suggests that fidgeting in children plays a more significant role in their development and learning than we might realise. So, this post will explore its surprising benefits and how it can positively impact children’s growth and educational experiences.
The Curious Behavior
Understanding Fidgeting: It is a broad term that encompasses various repetitive, small movements such as tapping fingers, shaking legs, or playing with objects like fidget toys from a slime shop. While these actions might appear distracting, they often serve a purpose that goes beyond restlessness.
Natural Expression: It is a natural expression of energy and curiosity, especially in children. It can manifest during periods of heightened engagement or when they need sensory input to stay alert and focused.
The Benefits of Fidgeting in Children
Contrary to the belief that fidgeting hinders focus, research indicates that it can enhance concentration, especially in children with attention difficulties. For many, this physical act provides sensory stimulation that helps maintain attention on a task.
Fidgeting can assist children in emotional regulation. When faced with stress or anxiety, it serves as a coping mechanism, helping children calm their nerves and regain composure. It provides an outlet for emotional tension.
Improving Fine Motor Skills
Fidget toys, such as stress balls or textured objects, can aid in the development of fine motor skills. Manipulating these objects strengthens finger muscles and hand-eye coordination, which is crucial for tasks like writing and drawing.
Enhanced Kinesthetic Learning
Many children are kinesthetic learners, meaning they grasp concepts better through physical engagement. As such, fidgeting allows them to engage their bodies while learning, which can lead to better comprehension and retention of information.
For some children, fidgeting serves as an outlet for excess energy. By channelling this energy into controlled movements, they may become less restless and more attentive in learning environments.
Incorporating Fidgeting in Educational Settings
Recognising its benefits, many educators have started incorporating it into classroom strategies. They encourage the use of discreet fidget toys or activities that allow children to engage in controlled fidgeting while learning.
Fidget Tools: Fidget toys like stress balls, textured objects, or silent spinners that you may get from a slime shop can provide children with tactile sensory input, helping them focus during lessons.
Seating Options: Some classrooms offer flexible seating arrangements, allowing children to choose seats that promote movement, such as standing desks or wobble stools.
Fidget Breaks: Scheduled breaks that include brief periods of physical activity or fidgeting can help children release pent-up energy and return to their tasks with improved concentration.
Finding the Right Balance
While fidgeting offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to strike a balance. Uncontrolled or disruptive fidgeting can be distracting to the child and their peers. So, educators and parents should guide children in using fidget tools or techniques that are appropriate for specific learning situations.
The role of fidgeting in children’s development and learning is more profound than meets the eye. It’s a natural expression of their curiosity and energy, and when harnessed correctly, it can have a positive impact on their concentration, emotional well-being, and motor skills. Educational environments that embrace its benefits recognise that children have different learning styles. So, by providing opportunities for controlled fidgeting, educators empower children to engage with their learning in a way that suits their individual needs.