20 Ways to Calm a Wiggly Child


  1. Teach him to read well.
  2. Stop his body from moving before giving a verbal direction.
  3. Give clear, short directions he can follow.
  4. Minimize auditory and visual distractions during work time. Provide headphones or earplugs and a supervised “office” area for independent work.
  5. Teach in a small, contained area with clear physical boundaries.
  6. Provide a visual schedule and overview the routine daily.
  7. Include brief physical breaks in his day. Assist him with transitions.
  8. Practice inhibitory activities, such as walking rather than running. Insist on do-overs when needed.
  9. Teach calming habits of non-screen, independent leisure such as playing outside, completing crafts, and listening to music or audio books in a comfortable place.
  10. Play simple turn-taking games for sharing, winning and losing gracefully, and self-control.
  11. Provide strong leadership, so he does not feel out of control. Let him know he is in good hands at the start of each day.
  12. Read books aloud about relationships, love, nature, courage, duty, and family.  (Don Freeman books, Little Bear books, Boxcar Children series, MP read-aloud sets)
  13. Use his high activity level for service. Teach him a few new chores. Encourage his helpfulness.
  14. Enjoy him. Find the qualities you appreciate about him. List them. Remember them.
  15. Speak with the encouraging language of a loving teacher-child relationship.
  16. Be matter-of-fact. Sometimes it is better to disengage than to overengage.
  17. Find activities you enjoy doing together. Do these together sometimes.
  18. Encourage his friendships with polite, considerate children.
  19. Add gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, sports, or daily walks to his year-round routine.
  20. Teach old-fashioned manners. Provide opportunities for manners throughout the day. (Wait for food with hands in lap, ask rather than demand, and speak respectfully to adults.)

Much of this is common sense, but in the throes of teaching or parenting, such reminders to ourselves can be helpful. We integrate specific tips, techniques, and read-alouds throughout our Simply Classical Curriculum. All of this can work together for the child’s own good and for the good of the family.

Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

Find out more about the Simply Classical education model with the book Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child.


Leave a Reply