Chewing gum and other things that help people lower their anxiety and process information better are finally getting recognized!
Remember when everyone in school was supposed to sit still and be quiet? Well some teachers and schools are starting to realize that this does not work for all children. Some need to move to think. Some perform better with classical music playing in the background. Some need to chew gum to lower their anxiety levels.
I am a homeschooling momma and I know that each of my three children are very different in their needs:
- My daughter uses gum to lower her anxiety and focus better. She also requires absolute silence to read, do math, or basically anything that requires a lot of concentration. Noise is a horrible distraction for her and it raises her anxiety level tremendously. (Sit still and be quiet would be fantastic as long as she could chew her gum and fully understand the directions.)
- Her twin brother likes to pace as he processes and recalls information. He says his brain just works better when he moves. Making him sit still causes his brain to just freeze up; he’ll actually sit and stare at you while his body tenses-up in frustration. (He would have been one miserable child in the classrooms of sit still and be quiet.)
- My youngest child is so full of energy that he needs to be able to jump around, be loud, and move a lot during the day or else he explodes – like that extra energy is just boiling inside of him and needing a way out. (If in school, I would say he would benefit from extra recess as his body needs that time of physical activity and being loud.)
If your child needs something different than what your school is providing, talk to them.* See if you can get a permit for your child to chew gum, move (walking or using a wiggle seat), have some sort of extra physical time (maybe a 3 minute break to run around), listen to classical music in head phones while working, use noise cancelling headphones for more quiet, have a visual blocker of some sort if he/she is visually distracted, or whatever else you think would be of benefit.
*There are parents whom have been successful in getting their schools or teachers to permit their child to have accommodations that make sense for that child. These are usually granted with an IEP or 504 plan, but sometimes they will accommodate even without one of these. For instance, neither of my boys would qualify for a 504 plan, but they still could use these accommodations if they were in a classroom environment.