How is Extra Movement Helping our Children with Behavior Disorders?

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Children with behavior disorders typically require more movement than the average child. A parent or teacher can very easily spot a student with a behavioral challenge that has not received their daily allotment of movement. This same child will become increasingly restless, begin to become impulsive, and struggle to remain focused. This makes it hard for their little brain to process directions from parents or teacher and even harder to follow through on completing said tasks.

Researchers have found that the more little bodies move the more focused they are able to be. There are tons of articles out there about schools increasing recess and seeing increased test scores. For teachers we are caught between a rock and a hard place: how do we incorporate movement and still achieve high test score that our schools/states are requiring? Many of our students are coming in with more challenges and difficulties than we as teachers are used to providing for. Also, the diversified learning population is making it increasingly difficult for teachers to reach all students. Thankfully, GoNoodle has added many activities on GoNoodle Plus to incorporate movement and content learning.

We also know that increased movement releases endorphins which make people happy. Many students with anxiety and other behavior challenges have a hard time achieving and understanding the feeling of happy. Utilizing additional movement breaks at school with GoNoodle’s super engaging videos has helped my students understand that happy feeling. Parents can access these same videos and have some silly dance time with their child and again connect that happy feeling to home.

Crossing the Midline
There are certain movements that can help a child learn to read and be more successful in school. Children who do not have the ability to cross the midline with their bodies often struggle to complete paper-pencil tasks, read from books, count objects, and more. Some of the time this can lead to increased behavior challenges in an attempt to hide lower academic ability. Mr. Catman has several videos that work on increasing skills in crossing the midline.

Core Strength
Children with underdeveloped core muscles will have a very hard time doing tasks that seem menial to adults. A child with an undeveloped core will struggle to sit at the carpet during story time, remain in their desk, walk in a line with peers, hold their head up throughout the day, and many other tasks due to the lack of stamina and strength their core muscles possess. These children will appear to be off task or not paying attention during classroom lessons and seat work. Children who are exhibiting these behaviors may often be targeted as a behavior challenge, because of the increased need for adult support to “pay attention or stay on task”. Maximo, Zumba Kids, and Fresh Start all have great videos for kids to work on those important core muscles and not realize they are exercising. With strengthened core muscles kiddos will be able to sit in their desks in an alert state for longer periods of time.

Balancing Homework Time
Evenings in many homes are filled with a very long to do list with a short amount of time to complete it. In households with multiple children, after school activities, homework, and household chores it becomes a large balancing act for parents to also give their children with behavior disorders the amount of attention and movement they need. Families using GoNoodle after school have reported feeling more confident in the activities they are choosing, because teachers are school are using them too. They feel confident that the videos their kids are watching are kid friendly and they will not be exposing them to unknown content. I have had families tell me they have found great videos for the whole family to incorporate some extra movement as well as calm down and relaxing exercises as well.

Do you have a child with challenging behaviors or behavior disorders? Comment below to share ideas of ways movement helps your child!


Monika is a K-4 Behavior Specialist in Dyersville, IA and a GoNoodle Ambassador. 

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