There are three styles of learning: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Each of us has a capacity for learning with each of these styles, though we probably have a dominant – or preferred – method.
For young kinesthetic learners, school may not be as easy to acclimate to as those with an auditory or visual preference. That is because kinesthetic learners have a tough time sitting still, which can create a challenge for both teachers and parents.
“Kinesthetic learners need to move,” reads Child1st.com. “They wiggle, tap, swing their leg, bounce, and sometimes just don’t seem able to “stay in their seat.”
The Dinner Struggle
As a mother of a kinesthetic learner, coping with my three-year-old son’s inability to sit still has been frustrating at best, especially at the dinner table. Since kinesthetic learners struggle with focus unless their hands are working on learning, my son isn’t overly focused while we’re all trying to have a conversation at the end of the day.
He is constantly moving, either dangling one leg off the side of the chair, tapping his hands on the table, or getting up to run around the room. It wasn’t until I recognized that it was his learning style on display that I stopped treating the behavior as a form of misbehaving.
“In the past, these kids were considered hyperactive and difficult,” reads Education.com. “Now we know better. These students aren’t being difficult. They just learn differently. They are kinesthetic learners. They learn best when they can move around and engage their small and large muscle groups.”
Solving the Problem
Imagine my excitement when I came across the Kids Activities Blog, a collaboration of two mothers “on a mission to reveal the kitchen junk drawer as a place of inspiration for kids’ art, crafts, games and learning activities.” Rachel Miller wrote an article on the cusp of the school year entitled “18 Hacks for Learning” that includes tips for settling kinesthetic learners like my son.
One product Miller highlighted was the Wiggly Seat, a 13-inch inflatable disc that promotes active sitting while supporting the spine. Instead of dangling off the side of a chair, children can move around while seated, getting that intrinsic desire to move out of their systems, enabling focus.
I will be trying this product.
Fidgeting at School
Even though kinesthetic learning may be your child’s dominant learning style, that doesn’t mean he or she can’t develop the other two. In fact, it’s a good idea to develop the other two, since high schools don’t typically appreciate students hanging out of seats or running around the room. Yes, early education is the time to work out the kinks.
First thing’s first: find the early education program that fits your child, such as the Waldorf program that practices frequent tactile learning. Second, use coping strategies to develop the audio-visual methods of learning.
- Pencil fidgets are fun to look at and play with! These pencil toppers will keep your child’s hands engaged while their teacher is speaking.
- Bracelet fidgets are another way to keep your child’s hands moving while their brains are focused on a talking teacher or other activity. A thick loom bracelet is something they can have fun making and then they can play with it while at school.
- A different type of method is using essential oils. Create a diffusing cuff to a bracelet that will absorb the oils and encourage your child to take deep breaths throughout the day.