By Vicki Little
Can you imagine what it must feel like to be a kid who has attention issues? Here’s an idea: You are constantly chastised in class for not paying attention and not sitting still. Then you are scolded for not staying focused — even though you try your hardest to do just that! While most kids have trouble paying attention at times, some students simply can’t focus almost all the time — even when they want to. For kids who struggle with paying attention, managing their issues is essential to succeeding in school. As awareness about these issues grows, non-medical solutions are increasing significantly. It may take a while to find the perfect “recipe” that works for your child, but here are places to start.
CLASSROOM AIDS: Kids with attention issues need to get their wiggles out, and the following items allow them to do so with minimal interruption to those around them. Their hands, feet, and bodies can shift and move quietly, allowing all students to focus better. These products are intended to help your student stay seated and minimize distractions in class.
- Velcro Fidget Strips stick on underneath chairs and desks to let fingers fidget while the child is focusing on the teacher.
- Gel Cushions allow your child to stop wiggling so much in their seat, and they can also use it to fiddle with while they sit in a group or during circle time.
- Pencil Toppers give your child something to fidget with while their minds are concentrating on the task in front of them.
- Foot Fidgets give fidgety feet something to do other than kick the chair or desk, which can distract the rest of the class.
FIDGET TOYS: One of the bigger struggles for kids with attention issues is staying on task when the rest of their body just wants to do something different. If they are allowed to fulfill their other needs — such as chewing, fidgeting, or calming their minds — they will be better able to focus on what they are supposed to be doing. These toys help re-direct those wiggle urges so their brain can focus.
- Comfort Chewies There are multiple reasons kids need to chew on things. Kids with ADHD find relief in the movement, and other sensory disorders satisfy the need to feel different textures. These items help with those issues to allow your child to focus.
- Thinking Putty helps kids to work out some stress and fidget quietly to be able to relax and calm down and focus on what they are supposed to be doing.
- Alerting Fidgets are items that “wake up” the mind and muscles. They help to get your child’s head out of the clouds and warm up the hand muscles to get them working properly.
- Calming Fidgets work to calm down overactive minds and bodies. They can help relieve tension and stress and help your child to feel calm and focused.
APPS: Electronics are a daily part of our lives, and they aren’t going away. Luckily, there are ways we can use phones and computers to help children focus, stay on track, relax their minds, and make those hard decisions.
- Unstuck: Many times, people with attention issues tend to get “stuck” when making decisions. This app helps you think through all those decisions and find out what is keeping you stuck… and then it helps you get unstuck.
- 123TokenMe: This is a great app to use in place of “tokens” or other reinforcement techniques to get your child to start or continue desired behavior and stay on track.
- Brain Yoga: Those active minds need to be able to calm down, and they also could use some training on how to focus on one thing at a time. This calming app helps your child do just that.
- 30/30: One of the struggles for children with attention issues is being able to stay on task. This app helps your child to stay on task and manage time effectively.
Vicki Little is a preschool teacher with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers watching her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time … well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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