Stress and Fidget Toys: How These Small Items Can Help Kids Stay Focused Through Stressful Times

Stress and Fidget Toys: How These
Small Items Can Help Kids Stay
Focused Through Stressful Times
 
We are all in the middle of a global pandemic, and unfortunately, our kids are feeling the
challenges, too. Whether they know someone who has gotten sick, they’re picking up hints of
financial struggle, or they’re going back to school in a way that looks completely different than it
did last year, they’re likely experiencing some added stress from the situation our (and their)
world is in.
 
There are many ways we can support our kids through this challenging time. As we work to
make this time as simple and carefree as possible for our children, the connection between
decreased stress and fidget toys is worth looking into.

 

We are all in the middle of a global pandemic, and unfortunately, our kids are feeling the challenges, too. Whether they know someone who has gotten sick, they’re picking up hints of financial struggle, or they’re going back to school in a way that looks completely different than it did last year, they’re likely experiencing some added stress from the situation our (and their) world is in.

 

There are many ways we can support our kids through this challenging time. As we work to make this time as simple and carefree as possible for our children, the connection between decreased stress and fidget toys is worth looking into.

 

Spotting Stress In Your Child

Before going into how stress and fidget toys are a good match, it’s important that we are monitoring the stress our kids are facing. Stress can show up in a variety of somewhat sneaky ways. The following are considered signs of stress in kids by the CDC:

 

  • More crying or irritability than normal
  • Regression in behaviors such as toileting or tantrums
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Avoiding school or performing poorly in school
  • Trouble concentrating or paying attention
  • Avoiding favorite activities
  • Unexplained headaches, stomach aches, and/or body pains
  • Acting out in adolescent/teen years

 

The above signs and symptoms show that our kids may not always tell us when they're feeling stressed. It can be quite clear, however, if you’re watching for their requests for support in forms other than words.

How Are Stress and Fidget Toys Related

You’ve likely seen all sorts of fidget toys around by now; cubes with buttons, spinnings objects, small suction cups, and more are available to purchase today. How do these small items help with stress?

 

Stress and fidget toys go well together because when a student is able to move their hands and fingers, they are able to provide themselves with a self-stimulatory behavior (which is a helpful tool to relieve stress, as it releases oxytocin in the brain).

 

Think about it; When you feel stressed or need help focusing on a task at hand, what do you do? You may go for a walk, drink a hot cup of coffee or tea, tap your fingers on your desk, or chew a piece of gum. Kids in school are typically not allowed to do any of these things.

 

Fidget toys give them a way to keep their bodies and brains slightly occupied, so they can reduce stress and focus on the learning they are expected to partake in.

 

One scientific study even found that sixth graders who regularly used a stress ball in class had an improved level of focus, attitude, writing abilities, and even peer interaction.

 

The Boston Children’s Hospital also recommends that parents provide their child with ways to focus in regards to supporting them through the upcoming school year.

 

Along with focus supports like fidget toys, they recommend:

 

  • Practicing self-care through eating well, sleeping enough (and not to much), and getting regular exercise
  • Seeking social interaction and support through friends and family whenever possible (so kids know they aren’t alone in what they are facing)
  • Limit media when necessary
  • Get creative when managing disappointments that may arise throughout the year (missed events, graduations, traditions, etc.). Plan a fun substitute or consider recreating the events when it is safe to do so

Is a Fidget Toy Right For Your Child?

If you’re spotting signs of stress in your child (especially related to school) or if you are noticing that they may need a little extra help with focusing in school, a fidget toy is worth a try.

 

You can also simply ask your child if they’d like to try using a fidget toy to help them focus in class, as many older children are self-aware and will be able to tell you if one of these items could make a difference.

 

It’s not something that will dissolve all stressors overnight, but it is a helpful tool (and a pretty small commitment for something that could be beneficial).

 

If you’re planning on exploring the connection between decreased stress and fidget toys for your child, consider checking out our unique collecting at Timeless Toys Chicago.