It is not uncommon for young children to be bounding with energy. If you are a parent or a teacher in a therapeutic preschool program, you likely know this all too well! While an occasional case of the wiggles is manageable in a classroom, consistent difficulties with children can’t sit still can impact a child’s development and ability to learn. Even in a therapeutic preschool program, there are daily activities that require a child to sit still, including circle time or storytime.
In a therapeutic preschool setting, children may experience challenges sitting still as a result of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, or other developmental delays. When children face challenges self-regulating, it can be extremely difficult to sit still and stay engaged during activities in a therapeutic preschool program.
Many therapeutic preschool programs offer pediatric occupational therapy (OT) services, which can be extremely effective for helping those children can’t sit still. In an OT session, the pediatric occupational therapist will work with the child to improve pivotal skills that are needed to complete their daily activities, such as sitting during circle time. This may include targeting motor skills and sensory integration. An OT may also communicate with the parents to learn more about the diet and sleep cycle of the child, as these factors can contribute to attention levels and self-regulation.
5 strategies to help children sit still in a therapeutic preschool program:
Fidget toys: A pediatric occupational therapist might recommend that a child who has trouble sitting still in a therapeutic preschool program carry fidget toys during each activity. These toys can help them to focused during circle time or storytime.
Movement: Some children really just need to take a few seconds to get up and move to break up an activity. A brief pause can help a child reset and regain focus.
Weighted vests: Children who have sensory issues often benefit from deep pressure when they need to focus and self-regulate.
Tactile cushions: If a child has sensory issues and has difficulty sitting in the typical classroom chairs during activities, try using a tactile cushion with the chair.
Z-Vibes/chew toys: For children with oral sensory issues, a Z-Vibes or similar chew toy can help a child stay engaged in an activity where they need to remain sitting still.
Depending on the specific abilities and needs of each children can’t sit still, different strategies may work better than others. Since therapeutic preschool programs typically have a low student-to-teacher ratio, which allows teachers to spend one-on-one time with children who require additional support with developmental skills.
If you think your child would benefit from a therapeutic preschool program in Chicago, contact CST Academy at 773-620-7800 to learn more about our program, which incorporates ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services.