It’s something that we hear a lot. Embarrassed parents often comment that, “My child is the ONLY one who wont sit still.”
No, they’re not, I promise and it's ok.
There are many children who wont sit still, maybe not in your class, maybe you don’t see them, maybe you don’t know them. Maybe in your child’s circle of friends your child is the only one with ants in their pants, but I promise you, there are heaps of children just like your child, and they don’t sit still.
We have a maximum of 9 children per class, so that’s not very many other children for you to observe, but we see MANY children each week. About 100 in fact, and we can tell you that the vast majority of them do not sit still. Nor should they!
People often need to move their bodies to learn and while they're moving and learning their brain is growing. The idea that we require children to be still in order for them to learn is seriously outdated. Instead, encourage your child to be comfortable in their own skin. To learn about their surroundings and be conscious of them. Learning about kindness and empathy in proximity. Spacial awareness is in itself something to be learnt. Learn how other people might feel in each space. Learn about appropriate touch and movement.
Your child's body may be moving but that doesn’t mean their ears are closed. Are they processing sensory stimulation? Are they taking time away from the crowd to think? Are they overwhelmed in a new situation? Do they have energy to burn? Are they very excited to be here? Are they bursting with life and expressing themselves in the best way they know how? Are they shy and rolling on the floor to avoid eye contact during the 'Hello' song? Are they in the middle of a huge developmental leap? Are they having a growth spurt that's effecting their sleep? Are they teething?
They are countless reasons why your child wont sit still and that's fine. Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Sounds Like This for Kids has attracted a community of really beautiful parents and caregivers. This is something that warms my cockles and l rather proud of! These parents all want the same thing as you, for their child to grow into the best possible version of themselves. To be nurtured, to be happy and healthy. As long as everyone feels safe in the space and the other children and parents can hear to learn, there's really no problem.
Nine times out of ten, these other parents have been in your situation. Their child has grown, pushed boundaries, grown, learnt new things, grown and pushed more boundaries. That’s a child’s job. That’s how they learn what’s ok and what’s not.
Please don’t feel embarrassed. This parenting gig is hard and we’re all learning too. Every child is different, so stop worrying about who your child is not, and please don’t feel like you need to stop coming because your child moves. We love the movers, we love the shakers, we love the full bodied learners. In our program as children grow and learn we are able to do more with them. We’re able to play games with more independence, call and response, turn taking, movements leading with a body part, weight transference and balance, all while up and moving our bodies. Children who move and feel beat and rhythm naturally from a young age will be able to move and feel it for the rest of their lives. Their movement is imperative to the learning process. It’s a really big deal.
So next time your child pops up, needs to shake their butt, stomp their feet, or run around, use it as an opportunity to let them be, or if it's becoming disruptive, go to them, softly speak to them about the people around them, about how awesome it was that they found the beat, how we love their big movements when the music was loud and their little movements when it’s soft. We love how they STOPPED in time. We love how they froze in that funny shape when the music stopped. And how wonderful it is that they used their bodies to express themselves as only they could.
By Julie Murray
Sounds Like This Owner and Teacher
Above: My son, Leo, aged 18 months. He wont sit still either.