Are Fidget Spinners Really Helpful for Anxious Kids?
It started about a month ago. My daughter came home from school and wanted a fidget spinner. She thought it might help with her anxiety. I had heard of fidget toys, but never fidget spinners. As a child therapist I am normally ahead of the curve with kid crazes, but not this one.
I went on Amazon like probably a bazillion other parents and searched for a fidget spinner. Pages and pages of fidget spinners appeared. They were like shoes. They came in all sorts of different colors and shapes.
I ordered one for her and thought why not and ordered one for my office.
I ain’t gonna lie, when the fidget spinners came I was under-whelmed. It was just some metal that spun around. What’s the deal?
She excitedly hopped away with hers and I threw mine in my purse to take to my office.
The next day she was spinning it in her hands as I picked her up from school. She said it really helped her with her anxiety.
As I got to work, I threw it on my table with the sea of other toys in my office.
I kid you not, every – single – kid that day picked up the spinner. It didn’t matter where I put it, they always found it.
Seven-year-olds spun it on the table as they talked to me about their fears. Teens moved it effortlessly as we discussed their recent panic attacks. Kids came in with their own.
A boy insisted that I try his. I’ll admit, his was much nicer than mine (spinner envy is a thing, okay it’s not). As I spun it and moved it through the air there was something calming and hypnotic about it. I finally got what all the fuss was about!
The fidget spinner can be used as a distraction technique
The fidget spinner makes a perfect distraction tool. It can help redirect anxious kids who are in a panic or who are hyper-focused on an anxious thought. I am big on distracting the mind as well as the body during panic attacks, but this would help with the body component of that equation.
The fidget spinner can be used as a grounding technique
Sometimes during panic attacks, kids can have issues with depersonalization, the feeling they are not real. The fidget spinner is a great way to “ground” kids. There is a nice vibration that comes when you spin it that would help ground people.
Hopefully, the craze of fidget spinners won’t ruin it for the anxious and hyperactive kids that really need it. I know a few schools in my area have already banned them.
What are your thoughts on the fidget spinner craze? Does it help your child? Leave a comment and let me know!
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