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Behavior: how kids are sitting

Date: October 27th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: How should you be sitting? Is this really a huge problem? I think we’re seeing a lot of new research out that’s saying that kids need a lot of movement. We know that.

I’m always wondering why we get so caught up in how kids are sitting. If I told you all, right now, for the next two hours you’re not allowed to cross your legs, where would you be? Some of you?

Audience Member: Thinking about not crossing your legs.

Polly: You would be thinking so much about not crossing your legs that you’d be focusing on, “OK, don’t cross your legs. Don’t cross your legs,” and you would hear nothing else that’s going on.

We have to be careful that we’re not creating an environment that’s so stringent, based on what we think is the best way for you to learn and take in information, that you’re now obsessed with maybe not sitting on your foot, or not standing at your desk, or not wiggling. Because those are natural things that help us attend.

When kids are fidgeting, it’s usually because they’re trying to attend. We’re trying to get ourselves motivated or stay awake. I always look at my classroom, when I see kids who are kind of losing it and they’re all over the chair. I always self check myself and say, “Maybe it’s time for me to shut my mouth now. Maybe this lecture is over because I’m losing my audience.”