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Fidget this or fidget sticks — a tool to soothe anxiety?

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sunny South News

Fidget cubes and/or fidget spinners are the latest craze among students. In the 1980s, there was the coveted Rubik’s Cube (even though not really similar) and every other era growing up there were pens to flick and chew, pencils to tap, erasers to annihilate, notes to pass (which is the forefather to texting), napping (as a puddle of drool forms on a desk), and the list goes on. Kids fidget just because and sometimes it’s because of anxiety, boredom, or whatever else goes through a kid’s mind.
Ponder this. A few kids in class bought a fidget, and then others bought into the craze and then pretty much an entire class of kids had fidgets of some sort. Now, some teachers are banning fidgets from classrooms or question their validity or usefulness. As the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Will Smith said in a song with D.J. Jazzy Jeff, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Or some teachers and other adults, for that matter.
Isn’t it better if a nervous or anxious child fidgets with a plastic block or spinning thingy rather than biting his/her nails or chewing on plastic or wood or some other questionable behavior to deal with nervousness, anxiety or maybe pure boredom? Maybe this is a wake up call for teachers who need to perhaps make class less anxiety-ridden, stressful or nap-inducing.
Some teachers and parents are reported to believe this new trend is distracting. Which may be the case. But, to fidget or not to fidget? That is the question. Kids need to vent. Kids need to keep busy. Isn’t it better they are playing with toys rather than texting or using other electronics? The answer is yes. It isn’t hypothetical. Groups of kids sitting around playing with their fidgets is indeed better than sitting around, being anti-social, while on their electronic devices and in their own little worlds. Kids sitting around with fidgets allows kids to be kids and to interact, while fidgeting. Which is often the case.
So teachers, educators, parents, grumps, those that don’t understand — cut fidgets some slack and the kids using them. Don’t ban them, embrace them. It’s relaxing, relieves stress and maybe those that oppose them need something to relax and reduce stress with — perhaps a fidget.
Schools are still anxiety-inducing places for kids. No matter what adults believe or all the research reveals. Being a kid isn’t easy now or it wasn’t back in the day.
Stressors distract kids and sometimes stress makes a student unwilling to learn or to give it their best shot. Tests and what is supposed to be friendly competition sometimes makes kids feel inadequate or not good enough. Taking away something as simple as a little toy that provides a little relief is kind of, well, stupid. Teachers, educators, parents that just don’t understand — maybe you don’t need to understand.
Most of the time kids don’t understand the adults in their life. To those who oppose — just fidget ‘bout it.

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