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Any day now, kids will be filing back into classrooms. After a summer of running around, swimming, going to camps and being free, kids will be expected to sit in desks for nearly seven hours and listen. If they tap pencils, hum or slide around in their chairs, they will be asked to pull cards, move clips or miss recess. They will have to adjust to sitting, and adjust quickly, or parents will be called and kids will be in trouble.

While there are a number of ways to help active kids pay attention, very few seem to work. Kids are moved to the back of the classrooms, have things taken away and are given continual verbal prompts. With any luck, these interventions work and everyone is happy. But when they don’t work, things can fall apart very quickly.

Before you rush to school, take your child’s privileges away or get mad at the teacher, consider trying some different options, options that actually release energy rather than trapping it. The above interventions of moving desks, prompting kids and taking away things tend to TRAP energy. The energy that is trying to be released is getting stuck, often causing kids to be even more active.

Instead, encourage your child’s teacher to use options that release energy. One of my favorite interventions is to place a Thera band on the legs of a desk chair. A Thera Band is essentially a large rubber band that kids can bounce their legs on quietly while class is going on. Kids love Thera Bands not only because they release energy but because the repetitive motion can actually soothe anxiety.

Active kids can have success in school. We just have to give them the outlets they need to be able to survive in a world where movement is not least until recess.

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