Something to feel
Many children, but adults as well, enjoy having something in their hands that feels nice to fiddle with. It should not be too big, so that it fits into your hand easily.
Materials that can be moulded a little incite a child to play with it in his hands. There are so-called stress ball for sale for this purpose, but there are many other materials suited for this, like moulding rubber, a piece of rope or a rubber band.
You could see it as a sort of chewing gum or massage for your hands. The best effect is obtained when the `massage` is carried out with both hands. It also helps to be less easily distracted by your environment.
A child with something in his hands to fiddle with is often more able to pay attention than a child with nothing in his hands. Of course this cannot be done when a child has to perform a task with his hands, but it works very well if he has to listen, watch or tell something.
At school it can be very useful for some children if they have something in their hands to play with during a group conversation, reading class and lessons where they have to listen and watch. We advise to gather several kinds of `fiddling` materials, so that a child can choose which one he likes best to fiddle with.
A variation on this is the use of chewing gum . This can also help some children to pay attention or to continue working. The tactile sense in the mouth and the sense of movement of the chewing muscles make sure that your child stays focused on what he is doing.
Many children move their feet constantly
when sitting on a chair. They probably do this unconsciously in order
to be able to pay more attention. This is another example of how the
tactile sense and sense of movement in their feet helps children to
By tying an old bike tube or rubber band between the forelegs of a chair you enable your child to play with his feet with the rubber band. The best position for the feet is between the rubber bands. With every movement he feels the rubber band and its resistance. This reinforces the tactile sense and sense of movement and can help staying focused on the activity he is carrying out. This aid can be used for example at school while writing, or at home during dinner.
Els Rengenhart © 2009