Love them or hate them fidget devices are everywhere. A search for fidget spinner on Amazon brings up 37,127 listings ranging in price from less than a dollar up to several hundred dollars for models with fine finishes and ceramic bearings. There are ninja spinners and light up spinners and everything in between.
It seems you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone spinning. A clerk at the grocery store was spinning as I paid last week. Kids are spinning at the bus stop, in church, and during family gatherings.
These fidget cubes and spinners are said to be beneficial to kids who have attention and sensory issues. My son’s teacher got a couple fidget cubes for classroom use to benefit a few students. It didn’t take long before all the students wanted their own. My son was among those pleading for a cube or a spinner. After receiving an education from him on these devices I took a look on Amazon. At which point I was overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.
These little gadgets looked about as valuable as a pet rock. I was pretty sure spinners and cubes made noise and that promised to make this noise hating momma crazy. Nonetheless, I caved and put a cube in the kiddo’s Easter basket.
My son’s cube stays at home, I figure the teacher has enough fidgeting to deal with already. It hasn’t driven me to drink yet, but now he wants a spinner to round out his collection. I told him he is on his own for that purchase. Despite the fact, he talks about it and looks at them online on a regular basis the money is still in his wallet…much like myself and a certain pair of scrumptious brown Frye boots.
Fidgeting To Focus
By definition, fidget means to move about restlessly, nervously, or impatiently. I’m a recovering fidgeter. Okay, I still fidget, but I try to do it subtly. Rather than bouncing my legs while sitting as I did when I was a kid, now I spin my wedding ring. Yeah, so I guess I’m a spinner. I’ve also been known to doodle on every meeting agenda I’ve ever been given.
I can see how such things help some kids who struggle to pay attention. I can also see that lots of these gadgets are going into the hands of kids who simply want them like they wanted those darn Kendamas that were all the rage. These cubes and spinners like so many things become an odd sort of status symbol.
Undoubtedly, they’ve created a distraction in the classroom and are not being used as originally intended. However, I would argue that part of their appeal may come from the fact that kids aren’t moving enough. My son complains about how short recess is and how many rules there are. They get to burn off energy in gym twice a week. My son’s teacher does a great job of trying to take the kids outside for reading or having them move around the classroom, but he still feels stifled. Not so stifled that he doesn’t sit and play video games if given the opportunity, but stifled.
Despite the fact that I remember fidgeting and getting in trouble for it, it drives me absolutely insane to watch my son fidget incessantly as he does his homework. I implore him to sit still in the chair, quit twirling his pencil, and FOCUS! Let’s just say that my demands are not happily complied with. Honestly, I shouldn’t be making them. I should encourage him to stand if he wants to or lay on the floor or fidget. What does it hurt?
Come next school year there will be some new thing to debate, but for now, as the summer countdown dips below twenty days and attention is oh so hard to come by I say go ahead and fidget.