The Challenge of Sitting Still

Pediatric OT Loren Shlaes on the difficulty some kids have with Circle Time (re-posted by permission on

Circle time is often one of the most difficult school related activities for the children I treat. Over the years I have seen so many children fail to meet the grownups’ expectations when they are required to sit quietly and attend while on the floor. They can’t pay attention, they move around, they speak out of turn, they lie down, they tune out, they lash out.

Why are they acting out during such a seemingly innocuous time of day?

Circle time often means sitting very close to the person next to you, with no furniture to help guard and define the boundaries of your personal space. Children who are tactile defensive generally don’t like to sit in close proximity to others, especially to other children, who are less predictable, and therefore potentially more threatening, than adults.

I know what it’s like to know that something isn’t right with your child, but not to know what to do about it—you feel helpless. Thanks to specialists like Ms. Shlaes, more and more parents are learning why their kids are different and what to do to help them.

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