GETTING ALONG AT SCHOOL

Why this parent advice topic

This post continues the effort to understand various challenges children face navigating school.  Fidgety Phillips and Phillipas are today’s topic, but first a picture.

IMAGE BY Barnes and Noble. Story about how fidgety feet turned a princess into a soccer player.  Sounds like a good one.

And now a poem.  This written in  1844 by  Dr. Heinrich Hoffman.  Fidgety people have been around since the beginning of human time. I am one.

The Story of Fidgety Philip
“Let me see if Philip can
Be a little gentleman;
Let me see if he is able
To sit still for once at the table.”
Thus Papa bade Phil behave;
And Mama looked very grave.
But Fidgety Phil,
He won’t sit still;
He wriggles,
And giggles,
And then, I declare,
Swings backwards and forwards,
And tilts up his chair,
Just like any rocking horse–
“Philip! I am getting cross!”
See the naughty, restless child
Growing still more rude and wild,
Till his chair falls over quite.
Philip screams with all his might,
Catches at the cloth, but then
That makes matters worse again.
Down upon the ground they fall,
Glasses, plates, knives, forks and all.
How Mama did fret and frown,
When she saw them tumbling down!
And Papa made such a face!
Philip is in sad disgrace . . .

Fidgety means you have a hard time sitting still.   Some of us are fidgety almost all the time, some of us only some of the time.   If you can answer “Yes, that’s me.” to the four or five of the following statements, you are probably fidgety than most other people:

  1. I like being on the move.
  2. Sitting quietly in church, in school, at work is hard work for me.
  3. I don’t like waiting in line.
  4. I don’t like waiting turns.
  5. I interrupt when others are talking.
  6. I jiggle my legs, twist my hair, or tap my fingers or toes a lot.
  7. I like to do two or three things at the same time.
  8. I can listen to music or have the TV on and read or write at the same time.

Here’s another way to figure out how fidgety you are:   pretend you are a soldier in the army.  Stand up and stand at attention with your feet together, arms at side, shoulders back, head up, eyes straight ahead.  Now don’t move for three minutes and then rate how badly you wanted to move on a scale of 1 to 10 using:

  1. Ten down to five means you moved.
  2. Five  means you wanted to move but didn’t although you had to work hard not to move.
  3. Four down to one means you had less and less of an urge to move.

The higher your score the more likely some people think of you as Fidgety Phil.  I score between a seven and eight.

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT FIDGETY PEOPLE

  1.  Fidgety  people do not want to fidget, but sitting still is very hard for them.
  2. Fidgety people can sit still sometimes and that makes other people think they just fidget to be difficult.
  3. Usually fidgety people can sit still when they get a quick reward for sitting still.  Video games calm some fidgety people.
  4. Some fidgety  people find medication is the only way they can sit quietly, particularly at school or at a job
  5. Fidgety people often can do two or three things successfully at once and that is a strength.
  6. Fidgety people often don’t need as much sleep as other people and that is another strength

PARENTING ADVICE

Parenting tip one:  Fidgetiness often runs in families.  It is the way some brains work.  It definitely runs in mine. Remember goodness of fit, that was talked about in an earlier post.  Often one family member is fidgety and other members just the opposite. That is why figuring out every one’s temperament is useful.  If you didn’t read that post, here it is  Loves School/ Hates School.

Parenting tip two:  Goodness of fit also applies to society.  When hunting was part every day life, the hyper-alertness of a fidgety person often served to alert others to the presence of game. Now that long hours are spent at school or on quiet jobs, fidgety people have a harder time.

Parenting tip three: Here are some ways I and other fidgety people have learned to deal with fidgetiness:

  1. Meditating.
  2. Meditating, but moving ever so slightly and rhythmically.
  3. Squeezing a stress ball when you need to be quiet.
  4. Squeezing a knee also works as does massaging your fingers
  5. When at school or work, taking notes on what is being said.
  6. Using the Mind Mapping way to take notes is often a good skill for fidgety people to learn.
  7. Mind Mapping is a bit like doodling and doodling also is soothing, but bosses and teachers prefer mind mapping.
  8. Folding paper—learning origami.
  9. Being allowed to color while listening.  I allowed this in all my classes and workshops.  In fact I provided adult coloring material and crayons.  My only rule was that when I said pay attention, you had to put your crayons down for at least a minute.

Parenting tip four: If fidgeting is interfering with work or school, medication may help.  Too much ranting against medication means those that need it are not be helped. I never felt the need, but as the director of a child’s mental health service, I saw miraculous changes in behavior when some youngsters were medicated.

One of the cashiers at my local supermarket has a severe case of fidgetiness.  He readily admits medication saved his life and is giving one of his children a better shot at the good life.

Parenting tip five:  Seek out a competent child psychiatrist if medication seems indicated.  Family doctors and even skilled pediatricians are no substitute for someone specifically trained to administer psycho-tropic drugs.

Parenting tip six: You need to know a few facts about fidgeting and medication:

  1. If it going to be helpful, the difference is often noticed right away.
  2. If taking the medication makes things worse, it generally means something besides fidgety is the problem.
  3. Bi-polar and trauma disorders often react adversely to the medication used for fidgety problems.
  4. Habituation, meaning the body builds tolerance, and stronger doses might be needed as well as planned vacations from the medication.

Parenting tip seven:  Join an ADHD support group.  CHADD is one of the best and they are on Facebooks.

Parenting tip eight: Strengthen your self soothing skills. That is what Emotional Fitness is all about.  Go here for a brief introduction to our 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.

Quotes 

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw.

I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.

Frank Coppola, MA, ODC, ACG l

Of course, no man is entirely in his right mind at any time.

Mark Twain

Do what you can where you are with what you have.

Theodore Roosevelt

Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out.

Dr Suess

If you’re going through hell, keep going

Winston Churchill

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Albert Camus

One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.

A.A. Milne

Some final words

Stay strong. Life is a struggle, full of pain and suffering. Parenting intensifies the struggle, but also brings  joy to your life. Neither you nor your any of your children need to be perfect.  Better to be good enough.

Like, comment or share, so I will grow stronger.  Thank you.

Katherine

Disclaimer: Emotional fitness Training is not therapy

Even the experts quarrel about what works best.  Advice is advice, not a commandment.  Read for what will help you and forget the rest.

Forgive my  errors for I have dysgraphia.

if you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow me.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you.

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