They say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. We all know that we have to keep our kids busy if we want them to avoid the type of boredom that can lead straight to those infernal shenanigans. Studies show that there are many ways to manage ADHD with fidget toys because they are great to keep those little hands from becoming idle. And for your child with ADHD, this strategy can be even more effective. Most kids with ADHD have trouble sitting still. This isn’t because they don’t want to–really, they just can’t. They have an uncontrollable urge to move or fidget. For many, their brains are telling their bodies to get up and move to help them listen and attend BETTER. Here are a few ideas on how to manage ADHD to help you out this Christmas when shopping for the best fidget toys for your ADHD child.
For many ADD/ADHD and OCD kids, keeping their hands busy can actually help their minds focus. Putting something into those hands that won’t distract surrounding students can mean the difference between a successful school day and a frustrating one. It’s a good idea to get toys that have multiple pieces so that when kids get tired of one, they can pull out a different piece to keep their fingers moving and keep their minds on the task at hand.
Many parents and teachers are surprised to learn how fidget toys can be a friend in the pursuit of focus:
- Fidgets have properties that engage sensory systems. The idea is that children with special needs, like ADHD, reduce their excessive movements (fidgeting) and increase their focus through the handling of a fidget. Keep the hands busy if you want to calm the mind. Most adults can relate to a fidget, as they frequently use their own brand of fidget every day. For example, we often doodle, wind and unwind the telephone cord, or play with our pen. We do this naturally, almost subconsciously, to keep focused, and our brain thinking better. For kids, a good way to think about this is that toys are for playing, but fidgets and fidget toys are for thinking.
- When some ADHD kids get anxious, they engage in destructive coping techniques, (like picking scabs, rubbing holes into fabric, or stretching clothes until they rip). Fidget toys are a great replacement for these other more destructive coping techniques. If you give your child the right kind of fidget toy, s/he will be able to rely on that rather than a behavior that could have more awkward or embarrassing consequences.
- Fidget toys enhance learning because they direct movement specifically rather than allowing it to be undisciplined and uncontrolled. In other words, if your child has ADHD, he or she might sometimes tap a desk or pace a room. But if you give your child a specific fidget toy that, for example, he or she can squeeze while doing work in class, that will most likely satisfy the need for movement while keeping it contained to the squeezing (and preventing it from going further into more distracting behaviors).
- While it’s certainly true that many people are successful only when they do one thing at a time, the opposite is true for folks with ADHD. Fidget toys are specifically designed to take advantage of this fact.