Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fiddle Sticks, Self Control Lotion, and Dumbo!

Have you noticed some students who just can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves?  Well, here are a few ideas that might help.

Get a shoebox and write “brain toys” on the box.  Next, get some old socks and tie knots in them.  When children need to focus invite them to get a “brain toy” from the box.  They can hold the sock, untie it, tie knots, and give their fingers something to do.

I’ve had teachers say, “Well, what if everybody wants a sock?”  Who cares?  Get a sock for everyone.  The main goal is to give children an outlet that is acceptable, quiet, and won’t bother another student. 

A similar idea came from a first grade teacher.  She gave each of her students a jumbo craft stick to decorate.  They tied a 20” piece of string to their sticks and kept them in their desks.  When their hands got “figdgety” they could get out their fiddle sticks and wind and unwind the string.

You just never know what will work until you try!  I recall a teacher who kept a bottle of lotion on her desk and called it “self control lotion.”  When her students were having trouble paying attention she would give them a squirt of lotion and tell them to rub it in.  They believed her just like Dumbo believed he could fly with the feather in his trunk!  Her students would actually come up to her and say, “I need a little self control lotion.”

Teaching is a challenge, but it’s also like winning the lottery when you find the right “fix” in your classroom!  Keep on trying!


  1. Love these ideas. Thanks for sharing. This happens to be just the issues I'm dealing with today.

  2. Dr Jean,
    I need help! I have a little one who picks their nose all day long. His nose bleeds everyday because he picks so much. Any suggestions on another use for his hands? Maybe I will try the sock... Maybe if he is trying to undo the knots he will forget to pick his nose! Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. a small piece of fun-tak or theraputty can help with a fidgety child. I would look into what is going on with his nose as well. Perhaps, something is irritating it and he's exaserbating the problem by picking at it.

  3. Thank you, love these ideas! They are just what I needed.

  4. My 7 year old son bites his finger tips (not nails). When I ask why, he says it's because he is bored. Do you have any suggestions?

  5. Do you recommend this for use at circle time?