Teaching - by Charlene Little

Using Exercise Bands to Keep Your ADHD Child Seated

Exercise bands keep children seated and prevent them from becoming distracted from their work.

The solution for getting ADHD student sitting still

Children with ADHD face a number of problems, especially if they attend public school. Contrary to what many people think, hand fidget items are not the solution to your child's urge to fidget.

The purpose of fidget items is to teach your child to redirect their excess energy into an activity. However, if you teach your child to redirect their energy into hand based fidget items, they are still mentally distracted by the fidget action.

By using an exercise band to occupy their feet, you can easily keep your child with ADHD seated.

If your goal is to teach your child to cope with the urges that come with ADHD, there are other solutions to teaching your child to redirect this energy. However, before you approach solving your child's urge to fidget during lessons, you must first understand what they are dealing with internally.

Managing ADHD Medication

Adderall pillsMany parents are unable to understand their child, and unable to understand how to manage their child's school behavior. Because of this, ADHD medication is over prescribed and children who do have ADHD are on high doses that should never be prescribed to a child.

As a parent with ADHD, I understand what my ADHD children are going through when they are trying to study and complete their daily work.  I also understand how their medication works with their bodies. Here is a way to consider the medication concept in a way that most of the population can understand.

Understanding ADHD Medication

Coffee is a stimulant, just like most ADHD medications. If someone is hyper and impulsive, a stimulant calms their central nervous system. If a person without ADHD drinks a cup of coffee, they become more alert, more focused. If they have too much coffee, they become jittery and unable to focus on a single task without their mind wondering.

Coffee beans act in a similar way to ADHD medication

The same thing happens when you give your child medication for ADHD. If the right dose is given to control impulsive actions, the child can concentrate on the task at hand. If you give them too high of a dose, they return to a state of being hyperactive and unable to concentrate.

Behaviors That Keep Your ADHD Child From Focusing

All children have times when their behavior is questionable. They can be out of control, speed through the house without thinking,  and make the most annoying noises imaginable. It is not uncommon for children to daydream or have difficulty paying attention to classwork or homework.

Some parents attribute this to ADHD, but it is normal child behavior. ADHD encompasses so much more than this, and a person who does not have ADHD cannot completely understand what children are facing every day.

Children with ADHD face more than an occasional hyper outburst. They experience constant hyperactive behaviors and the actions they carry out through impulse can affect their daily life and put them in danger. To make matters worse, they face problems with interpersonal relationships and relationships with family members frequently. Teachers, principles and bus drivers often label them as a problem or as a "bad kid."

Children with ADHD often feel like they must move. If they are required to sit for long periods of time, the built up energy becomes unbearable, and their urge to move overrides their desire to stay out of trouble. Consequences no longer matter, and their natural urges take over.

The Need to Fidget Must Be Fulfilled

A child with ADHD can sit still if they are provided with something to fidget with. If they do not have an item to fidget with, they may fidget with items that are undesirable, or they may feel the urge to get up and move at times that remaining seated is required.

To fulfill this need, occupational therapists recommend using fidget items. Currently, the most popular fidget item is the fidget spinner, which most schools are banning because the ball-bearings make annoying sounds. And because toys aren't allowed in school.

Another popular item is the fidget cube. Teachers often prefer this gadget because they are completely quiet. Other children are provided with play-dough, marbles, stress balls, or other sensory based materials.

However, since all of these items require the use of their hands, it is still a distraction from the work they are supposed to be completing. Because this defeats the purpose, children are still often reprimanded and have their fidget items taken away.

Since the goal is to draw the energy away from the body's core, redirecting energy output to the feet prevents the child from being visually distracted by their fidget items. Using an exercise band has proven to keep children seated, and prevent them from becoming distracted from their work.

How to Use an Exercise Band to Keep Your Child with ADHD Seated

Using an exercise band to keep your child with ADHD seated is actually easier than it sounds. All you need is a traditional school desk and a low-resistance exercise band.

Take the exercise band and stretch it across the legs of your child's desk. Make sure to place the band across the front two legs of the desk only, placing them around the back legs of the desk may cause your child to trip and fall when they try to get up.

As your child completes their school work, reading activity, or listens to instruction, they can place their foot on the exercise band and move it back and forth. Since there is resistance, they get the sensation they are moving more than they really are. Since all of the movement takes place under their desk, they do not distract themselves, or anyone else around them.

This concept has also been applied to chair legs (see below).

Related: Bouncy Bands: Fidget to Focus

Children with ADHD, even when they are on medication to control it, still experience some symptoms of the condition. Their body wants to move, and there is nothing they can do about it.

Resist the urge to fight the losing battle of stopping the movement, or trying to redirect their energy into an item that visually distracts them or the people around them. Simply redirect the energy to their feet.

ADHD is not a condition that is frequently outgrown. By providing them with a discrete way to move that is not visible to others, it can become a valuable life skill they can carry into adulthood.

Related: Bouncy Bands: Fidget to Focus

Last updated on May 20, 2017

Homeschool Mom

About Charlene Little

Charlene is a writer, a self-made momtrepreneur, and a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. She has four wonderful, very active young boys. With all there is to do everyday, things are always chaotic and she loves every minute of it. Things we do in everyday life are a learning experience, and her… Full author bio

3 Responses to “Using Exercise Bands to Keep Your ADHD Child Seated”

  1. Emma Quick says:

    I got a bit confused about the difference between this and other fidget activities.

    You say "the purpose of fidget items is to teach your child to redirect their excess energy into an activity. However, if you teach your child to redirect their energy into hand based fidget items, they are still mentally distracted by the fidget action." How is redirecting their fidgiting to their feet or legs any different than to their hands or fingers? (Besides the obvious fact that their hands aren't occupied with a toy).

  2. Mark says:

    There is the image at the very top and then the imgur image at the bottom. I'm having a hard time following your description of setting this up. Do you have a better picture?

  3. Beth Josa says:

    Are there any household items that can be easily substituted for the bands?

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