Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past month (which would be fine…you’re out of school!), you’ve likely seen your kids and their neighborhood friends walking around playing with “fidget spinners”. But what are they?
Fidget spinners were originally marketed to kids with ADHD or other anxiety disorders, as a way to calm their mind through repetitive actions. While there hasn’t been enough research done presently to back up or refute these claims (specifically as they relate to the spinners), who among us hasn’t tapped a pen or pulled apart a paper clip during moments of concentration?
The problem that many schools and parents have had with these spinners is their tendency to distract both their user as well as the people sitting closest to him/her. Many spinners are brightly colored and make a distinctive whirring noise. In an area with limited space, such as a classroom, or the dinner table, this can be highly disruptive. In these settings, putty stress balls can have the same “fidgeting” stress relief for your child, but without the distractions.
There are also some great ways to incorporate mindfulness with these toys! Use the spinner as a focus point during meditation – sit in a quiet room and focus all your attention on the toy as it spins on your finger while you inhale and exhale. Try using your less dominant hand (for example, if you are right handed, spin it with your left hand) and concentrate on the sensations that may be different than when the spinner is in your other hand. Or use the time that the spinner is in motion to repeat a mantra to yourself, such as “I WILL have a good day today”.
Despite it’s tendency to distract, fidget spinners do have useful applications – it just requires a little thought and creativity. Spin away!