“Sarah, don’t knock that over!”
“Jack, we are being too silly for this!”
“Keep your hands to yourself Kevin!”

If you have worked or currently work with kids these are phrases you have likely heard every single day. Young children are big wigglers. They like to touch, lift, press, push and explore almost everything they encounter. Whether it is reaching for keys or cell phones, if there is something foreign or different on the table, the young learner will gravitate towards it and want to play with it.

In today’s “Inside a Chess Lesson” we are going go over a three of our teachers’ tips on how to deal with these curious kiddos.

Fidget Ball – One of our teachers brings an interesting textured and shaped ball that he calls a fidget ball. For his wiggly students, he makes this rule: They can touch, press, shake and smash this ball as much as they want, but it has to be out of eyesight — under the table or on their lap. Any ball, trinket or any non-noisy item can be used for this trick. Very much like doodling, sometimes a child just needs an outlet for excess energy. This is a perfect way to drain this energy without creating a distraction.

Silly Corner/Serious Corner – One of our favorite teachers uses a concept she dubbed Silly Corner/Serious Corner. She told us about a student that was way too energetic for their lessons. Everytime the chess board was unrolled it was too exciting for them to focus. This tutor came up with the idea of having a Silly Corner and a Serious Corner of the room. The Silly Corner is a designated area of the apartment where no behavior is off limits. They can shake, thrash, dance, wiggle, jump, whatever their heart desires. The deal is that if students get to be Silly in the Silly Corner, then they have to be serious in the Serious Corner where the lesson is happening. This tutor let the student go to the Silly Corner as frequently as they wanted at first. Eventually as lessons progressed, the student realized that Serious Corner is way more fun than mindless wiggling.

Magic Chess Board – A trick that a lot of our tutors use is the “magic chess board”. With a little assist from physics, our students believe that our chess boards magically unroll themselves. Unfortunately, in a big group lesson, lots of curious hands want to touch and play with the “magic” board and pieces at the same time. A simple solution to this is to tell them that every time someone touches the board and its not their turn, the board loses a little bit of its magic. Giving a little consequence to a action can be a great tip to help keep children’s hands to themselves.

Stay tuned for more tips with “Inside a Chess Lesson”

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