I have a house full of wiggly kids. I could spend most of my day banging my head against the table and wishing I had a child who would just sit down and do their school work, but instead I have worked hard to harness with wiggles. With a few small changes, the wiggles have become manageable in our home, and I end the day feeling mostly sane.
Create a Wiggly Environment
When you have a wiggly child, it’s easier to work with them instead of against them. Take some time to find their learning style. Many wiggly kids are kinesthetic learners meaning they are going to learn better if they can move.
In this case, the wiggles are a good thing! Toe tapping, chair rocking and other movements can help information stick that much better in your child’s brain. You can have them do jumping jacks while you quiz spelling words, you can use patterns to practice math facts, or have your child bounce on an exercise ball instead of sitting in a chair at the table.
Find Curriculum Tailored to the Wiggles
Some curriculum and teaching philosophies are better for wiggly kids than others. Your child may not be the type to sit still and read a textbook, but perhaps they can build with legos while you read aloud.
There are multisensory programs that are tailored to wiggly kids. My middle child is a wiggler, and I have had wonderful luck with Logic of English Foundations, which encourages running, jumping and dancing to learn to read, and Oak Meadow which includes lots of listening, storytelling, coloring, and exploring the world.
Look for programs that encourage your busy children to be busy!
Take Brain Breaks
Some of the best advice I ever received was to use a timer with our lessons. After a while, my wiggly kid shuts down. We work for a little while (depending on the age, 10-30 minutes) and then we take a “brain break” so we can run around the block, run the stairs, have a dance break, or sing a silly song.
Taking time to get the wiggles out helps all of us be more productive when it’s time to settle down and work.
My favorite thing to do with my wiggly kids is to have “Playground School.” I load up as much of our curriculum as reasonable, and we head down to the park for class. The kids can take turns working with me one on one while the other kids play. On beautiful days, this is our favorite place to do school. The kids work so much more efficiently because they know they get a turn to play after each subject they complete!
They love running around, and I love that I can be productive while they burn off energy. On the next nice day, give it a try!