Busy Hands: Taming the Fidgets While You Read to Your Kids
by Virginia Knowles
One of the main reasons we decided not to continue in our home school co-op after four years was because I really craved the opportunity to read aloud to my own kids for a significant amount of time every day. We have hundreds (maybe thousands) of kids books in the house, and I wanted to fill their hearts and minds with great literature, fascinating history and wonder-building science. My only problem with this is that my five younger kids, ages 5-13, tend to be fidgets! The excess movement invariably caused distractions and even conflicts as someone would fling a pillow across the room or hang over the edge of the couch upside down.
My friend Debbie, whose daughter attends a Montessori school where hands-on education is a key component of their program, suggested that I give them something to do with their hands while I read. So the next morning I announced that they were welcome to go find something small to do with their hands as long as they didn't move around too much. Naomi instantly thought of pipe cleaners. She braided hers while Micah turned his into a small pipe cleaner family of people. The next day, she brought out some modeling clay (not play dough, which is more messy) and started crafting a miniature bedroom set. Micah has started making clay spiders and origami dinosaurs. One of my adult daughters, Rachel, taught Naomi to knit, so I'm going to buy her a pair of needles and skein of yarn. Imagine how many projects she could make just during our read aloud time each morning!
Has it solved the fidget and interruption problem? Not entirely -- but it sure has helped! Then I let them run around outside for a little while like active kids love to do.
Give it a try!
P.S. Here's something I won't let them do in the living room since it's too messy -- those are pretzels nibbled into letter shapes!