I have a 5 year old daughter and she has a real struggle to:

  1. Sit in the middle of her chair
  2. Stay there without fidgetting

In terms of #1, she often falls off her chair as she sits on the edge. Even after constant reminders, etc. it doesn't seem to be getting better and in particular she often falls off her chair given the imbalance and i am afraid she will get hurt. When i move her into the middle within a few mins she ends up on the edge as she isn't comfortable. She constantly wants to stand up or play with her chair and basically struggles to sit still.

She does have some sensory issues so I am guessing this is related but not 100% sure. I sometimes feel like she needs to go back to a booster seat to force her to sit in the middle of the seat and not move but obviously think that seems like a backwards approach given her age.

Any suggestions for things to attempt? From googling I see different types of chairs, etc but not sure if anyone of them actually will make a difference.

  • 1
    It may sound like an odd approach, but I've always had success with communication, so have you asked her why she does that? If she's uncomfortable, is there something you do to (in her opinion) to make it comfortable? You tagged this with ADD -- do you believe she has it? Diagnosed? Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 21:16
  • Is this every time in a chair, or just when she's bored? Can she sit through a meal long enough to eat her dinner, at least (assuming she's interested in dinner that night)?
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 22:07
  • @Jeremy Miller - I removed the ADD tag as nothing diagnosed but i just saw that relationship when googling a lot . . she does have some sensory issues as per the updated quesiton
    – leora
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


She may be sensory seeking. Some kids (my 5yo son) need sensory feedback in order to calm themselves down. If so, the answer is probably to address the sensory needs rather than constrain or negotiated her into the chair.

Does she squirm under other circumstances, such as when concentrating or reading? Can she sit still under other circumstances? Can she concentrate for extended periods of time? Does she show other signs of sensory seeking?

Edit: this is was has worked for our son:

He was found to have sensory issues by an OT and a psychologist. A developmental pediatrician totally discounted the existence of sensory issues, so keep in mind that it is still a contentious diagnosis. That being said, this followed worked for him:

  • exercise. Before he goes to school, he will do 15~20 minutes of exercise targeting heavy lifting, chair push-ups, yoga posses and core body strength work (this was also found lacking). Depending upon his needs, he will do a few minutes in a trampoline.
  • top-ups. We try to top up his exercises every couple of hours. A few minutes of exercise keeps him on track.
  • chewing gum. This helps his concentration a lot. He teacher allows him to keep his gum while at school. Without it, he just ends up fidgety and starts chewing something else.
  • movement. When he needs to move, we let him. So does his teacher. If he is required to sit, then we may do a few frog jumps or chair push-ups to help him settle down.
  • sensory seeking. He will still squirm when concentrating. For example: he may knead me with his toes when doing his readers. That's just what he needs so I let him.

After about a year of following this, he has gotten a lot better and does not need anywhere near as much attention.

  • what sort of ways are you addressing your son's needs. Any recommendations? As per the updated question, she has been diagnosed with mild sensory . .
    – leora
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 23:37
  • @leora - Updated.
    – dave
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 0:27
  • 1
    You might try letting her stand. My sister has a student in her class who has a little platform on top of her desk so that she can work standing up because she cannot sit still. Teachers make accommodations like this all the time.
    – MJ6
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 0:51
  • @MaryJoFinch - that may be addressing the symptoms rather than the cause. If the child needs sensory input, it may be better to provide it before they sit for the meal rather than during the meal or forcing them to sit still. It sounds like the kid is not in school yet so it important to work out a regime that works on an ongoing basis. That being said, very little information has been provided.
    – dave
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 1:58

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