Sit Still

How Can I Help My Child Sit Still in Class?

1.       Understand the time your child should be able to attend to a seated task.

                        1 year:                       1 minute

                        2 years:                     2-4 minutes

                        3 years:                      8 minutes

                        4 years:                     10 minutes

                        5 years and up:       15 minutes

 2.       Give your child plenty of sensory/movement breaks throughout the day.

In today’s world, children are not given the breaks they need to function to their fullest potential. Allowing children to move around throughout the day will give them opportunities to let their energy out and ideally focus better when they are sitting. Running, climbing, jumping, and participating at recess is one of the best sensory motor activities a child can do at school. However, if the child needs more breaks or more structured activities during the day provide the following:

3.       Provide proprioceptive input/heavy work through the school day.

 Proprioceptive input activities involve heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints. Engaging in these activities may help regulate a child’s arousal level, concentration, and ability to sit still/attend to a task.

 ·       Wall/chair push ups

·       Animal walks like crab walks

·       Jumping up and down

·       Sit ups

·       Push ups

·       Jumping jacks

·       Wheelbarrow walks

·       Arm Squeezes/self-hugs

·       Complete activities in prone/on belly

·       Chew on tougher consistencies, chew tubes, or hard candy

·       Drink water through a straw

·       Play oral motor games with straws during breaks

·       Eat crunchy foods at meal times

·       Apply a weighted blanket

·       Wear tighter clothing

·       Pushing/pulling heavy objects

·       Give the child more chores to complete around the classroom—wiping off dry erase/chalk board, putting up/pushing in chairs, washing tables, rearranging book shelves, sharpening pencils, carrying heavy boxes, cutting thick paper, etc.

4.       Do these activities at home to continue regulating your child’s body. This can even help with homework time if your child is having a hard time concentrating at home.

5.       Make breaks cards so your child is not abusing getting out of work both at work and at school.

Make a card for teacher’s choice, child’s choice, and proprioceptive input/heavy work. Have at least 2 of each type of card.

6.       Talk to the teacher to determine if there are environmental changes that can be made.

Could your child benefit from fidgets, wiggle seats, or TheraBand applied to their desk? Does your child have to sit on the floor during circle time? See if your teacher could use a designated carpet square to make a specific area for your child to sit.

7.       Reflex Integration Testing

 It may be beneficial to contact ABC Pediatric Therapy to have your child’s reflexes tested. Some of your child’s reflexes may not have integrated correctly when s/he were a baby which could cause difficulty with attention/focus, sitting upright in a chair, and some other deficits that are inhibiting your child’s full potential to learn.

 8.       Contact ABC Pediatric Therapy specifically an occupational therapist for more ideas geared towards your specific needs and if you have any additional questions. Visit our website at to find the location nearest you.

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