I Like to Move It Move It

Some children are little fireballs who won't sit still for a minute. Martine shares her methods of keeping her little one calm and focused when it's time to stop playing



So, "I like to move it, move it" is one of my 6 year old son's favourite songs, and I have to say that it describes him perfectly. At the weekend I was watching him running and jumping around the room and I thought to myself - not for the first time - is this normal? He has always been on the go and his energy, enthusiasm, and zest for life is incredible. The downside, however, is that he never seems to sit still; this is exhausting as I have to admit that I just do not have the energy of a 6 year old!

But is he actually any more hyper/boisterous/high-spirited/lively (all words used to describe my son) than any other child of his age? In childcare, I have worked with many children of this age, however, it's a very different story living with one 24 hours a day!

In today's day and age of labels and online diagnosis, my mind went to the same place as many parents', the letters ADHD, even though I know my son is simply full of beans. My background has given me an insight into some of these conditions and although I am not trained to make a diagnosis I am able to spot the signs of inattention to watch out for. I have seen children prescribed medication after being diagnosed with ADHD and many parents worry that this will happen to their child. But is this the only option or could there be an alternative to medication?

Moving to Calm, is a programme by Dr Joanna Livingstone, that I've come across a few times. It draws on martial arts, dance, yoga and other techniques to find calm without medication.

With two active sons of her own, and a number of referrals querying whether kids have a diagnosis of ADHD or are simply very active, Dr Livingstone saw that sitting does not come naturally to some children. Some children need enough opportunity to move in order to balance the amount of time that they are expected to sit still at school.

A combination of fine and gross motor skills are used to help children focus on themselves in relation to the space around them, moving from fast to slow motion and eventually to a place of stillness where they can focus on their breathing and develop their own mindfulness techniques.

As a parent and a childcarer, I can see the benefit in helping a child learn to sit still, knowing that movement is coming. I can see how it could help increase attention, concentration and focus which, let's be honest, would benefit any child (and parent).

I have seen some schools adopt this approach with regular intervals of exercise during the school day and even gym equipment at desks. The schools have reported that the children are then able to refocus which in turn results in improved behaviour. But most importantly the kids love it!

I decided to try out some of these techniques with my son, particularly when it comes to homework time, which is always a struggle in our house! I have to say that I found it really does work... my son can actually focus on the task at hand when he is in the right mindset!

Of course, there are many children who do have ADHD and need more help, but this approach has opened my eyes to some great techniques which can work as part of a solution, or for children like my son who just like to move it move it!

Martine Nadler, mother and owner of Tinies Glasgow

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Just to say all of your Tinies staff were fantastic and the crèche was excellent on our wedding day. It wasn't an easy job to do, particularly the meal - always challenging when you have a bunch of 4 year olds to look after. But your staff coped magnificently and it all went very well. The babysitters on the night before our wedding were also very good, as was our dedicated nanny for the day. Thank you very much for organising everything, we will happily recommend Tinies crèches.
E. Robb, Cliveden Hotel, Berkshire, Wedding Crèche