Children and the Inability to Sit Still

The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, has been showing a rise in the percentage of youth diagnosed with ADHD. In 2003, the percentage of children with ADHD was 7.8%. In 2011, that percentage went up to 11%. There are many reasons for the rising diagnosis, from awareness of the condition, to the changes in medical treatment and the criteria it is diagnosed by. I have another theory, though.

If you weeks ago, I had a complete stranger call me out of the blue. She began to pour her heart out to me explaining that her six-year-old son was getting in trouble at school because he cannot sit still during class. His school wanted to have him tested for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Being a mom who volunteers a lot in the community, I have seen this become a very common problem in our society.

This young child’s mom continues to explain how her son comes home from school each day with yellow marks. The rest of his class screen marks almost every day for their good behavior. That means this child, every day, is reminded how unacceptable his behavior is because he is unable to sit still throughout the day.

His mother begins to cry as she tells me how his self-esteem has plummeted because of his need to move around. He began telling his mother that he hated himself and was a failure.

It’s amazing how many more children over the past decade had been labeled as having issues with attention. One of my friends is a local elementary teacher and told me that, on a good day, at least eight of her class of 22 students has trouble paying attention. All the while, it is expected for children to sit longer periods of time. Even children as young as kindergartners are being required to sit during circle time for 30 minutes and some classes.

Here are my thoughts: children are made to stay in an upright position all day long. You rarely find children having fun by spinning in circles, climbing trees, rolling down hills. Teeter totters in merry-go-round’s are no longer found. Schools have shortened recess times to meet their increased educational demands. Children play outside a lot less these days because of hectic schedules, liability issues, and the fears of their parents. In a nutshell, children don’t move near as much as they should, and it is creating more and more problems in the classroom.

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