Maddie is seven and half years old and she finds it almost impossible to sit still while we are working on flashcards, reading, history, anything that requires her to sit. I have been working on Maddie focusing and paying attention. But, what I found was asking her to sit and “focus” was causing her to crawl into herself, it was causing her to become even more unfocused, more frustrated, and not enjoying school. This was so frustrating to me, because in my mind if she was wiggling and fidgeting I thought she could not soak in what we were reading. What I was doing was holding her back.
Today, we worked on addition flashcards, we are working on her knowing her foundation of addition so she can be successful at subtraction. She kept trying to fidget and wiggle, I kept reminding her to sit still and focus. Then, for some reason I decided to let let her fidget and wiggle. I wanted to see what would happen. So, I started by having her stand on one leg, then I had her hopping up and down, all while we were going through her flashcards. Then without telling her I gave her free reign, I let her wiggle, I let her fidget, I let her do handstands off the couch, I let her wiggle like a snake on the floor, and you want to know what happened. She breezed through the flashcards AND she had a smile on her face. When I had asked her to sit still, focus, and pay attention, it took all her concentration to try to focus and she couldn’t focus on our task at hand. Giving her the freedom to wiggle and fidget, gave her the freedom she needed to be able to open her brain and find the answers.
What I had done was put Maddie’s learning in a box, I told her you can learn this way and this way only and I had shut off her learning. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s intuition to let go of the way I thought it should be done and listen to what Maddie had been trying to tell me. What is the worst thing that happens if she wiggles or fidgets, in this case, she goes through her addition facts faster.
There are times Maddie has to sit still and she does wonderfully, but it is best done in small doses, as her body begins to tell her it’s time to wiggle and move. From here on out I will be looking for ways to help Maddie move and wiggle about while doing her school work. Movement is how she learns and I want to honor, accept, and love her for the amazing young girl God has made her. When she wiggles…she learns!