How Do I Keep My Son In His Seat?

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Reader Question:


I have a child who will not stay in his seat. It doesn’t seem to help taking away privileges. Any other suggestions for getting him to stay put during the school  day?


Dear Michelle:

I would consider doing the following:

1.  Allow him to stand at the table and do his work.

2.  Consider an exercise ball to sit upon during his school work.

3.  Consider the exercise chair disk I suggested.

4.  Allow him to recline on the floor or bed or wherever for his work.

To increase his ability to sit in a chair, get a timer and a bag of small treats.  (Like M & Ms or goldfish or something he likes).  Tell him you want to help him learn to sit longer.  Set the timer for two minutes.  If he makes it for two minutes, you give him a treat.  Later in the day, give him a chance to make it to three minutes.  If he fails, give him one more chance to get to two minutes and let it go for the day.  The next day you start with his highest time from the day before.  Practice for two or three times per day, always giving lots of praise. Every time you raise the time by one minute.  If he does not make it, the ONLY consequence is that he does not get the treat.  Show no impatience with him in this training.  Let his own desire for the treat be his motivator.

Once he is hitting about 8 or so minutes in the chair, you may give him a piece or paper and pencil or crayon to use to entertain himself or a book.

I know adding a minute at a time seems slow, but in a month he will have lots of improvement.  Stay right with him during these sessions and give him gentle and kind reminders and let him know you WANT him to succeed and get a treat.  Celebrate with him and smile a lot.
g new, positive reinforcement to train him and in the meantime allow him some physical freedoms during his work.

I heard a talk by Andrew Pudewa who told of class rooms where the children (all boys) were permitted to sit, stand, sit on the floor or wherever during the course of the school day.  All the boys chose to stand scrunched over the table or sit under their desks, etc.  Over the course of the year the boys scores and behavior improved DRAMATICALLY.  It seems that requiring them to sit still in desks actually took them more mental and physical energy that just doing the work in a way they were comfortable.  This was not the case in a class of girls.  They chose to sit at desks.

Happy Homemaking!


Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

Loving and Teaching the Difficult Child

Teaching the Difficult Child

The Delightful Family

Influencing Children’s Hearts

1 Comment

  1. Sarah Thrash

    what a great suggestion!

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