Children with sensory processing difficulties may have a difficult time staying in one place for extended periods of time. Frequently, parents will witness this kind of behavior during mealtime, particularly during dinner, after their child has been seated all day in school. This behavior is the child’s way of telling parents that they need to move! The fidgety movement is a cue that the child needs vestibular input to help him achieve an optimal arousal for the task at hand; in this case, eating dinner.
Below are some ideas to assist your child in sitting down for your family meal:
- Provide vestibular input prior to sitting them down for dinner. Have your child complete jumping jacks, frog jumps or log rolls to provide them the input to achieve the ideal arousal level for mealtime.
- Use a move-n-sit cushion on your child’s chair. This device will provide your child with movement while seated at the table.
- Allow your child to stand while eating. Some children may prefer to stand at the dinner table. Provide a visual boundary on the floor of the space they are to stand in while eating dinner.
These tips should assist you and your family to have a successful family meal together!