Fidgets, like squeeze balls and key chains, are self-regulation tools that promote movement and tactile input. They can be great for kids who struggle with attention, focus and sensory processing.
But in my many years as a teacher and parent, I’ve often seen them misused. When I see a child throw a squeeze ball across the room or obsess over making shapes out of Silly Putty, I know something’s gone wrong.
The problem is we often hand fidgets to kids without any direction, thinking they’ll magically know how to use them. Then when they play with them—rather than use them as a tool—we get angry.