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6 Ways to Handle the Distracting Kid So Students Can Focus

Some kids need a little extra attention, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Still, it can be frustrating for teachers who don’t have extra help in the classroom. Without a teacher’s aide, it can feel tiring when you’re trying to balance between helping the entire class or focusing on one or two students who need time and attention. 

Today, we’re walking you through six strategies that can help keep distracting students occupied, so you have time to give individual attention to all your students. 

1. Sensory Play

When you can’t get kids to calm down, introducing water can feel like a reset button. There’s something about sensory activities that ground kids. Whether you’re splashing sea creatures in a bucket or digging through small piles of multi-colored beads, it’s a great way to have kids feel in the moment. 

Sensory activities provide a constructive outlet for excess energy and a means for self-regulation for challenging students. Engaging in tactile experiences like manipulating sand, water, or other materials can help soothe heightened emotions. 

As the distracting child benefits from the calming effects of sensory play, other students observe a positive and inclusive approach to managing behavior, contributing to a more harmonious learning environment where everyone can concentrate better.

2. Yoga Breaks

Incorporating short yoga breaks into the daily routine promotes mindfulness, relaxation, and body awareness. It offers a structured outlet for pent-up energy. For challenging students, participating in simple yoga poses can be an effective way to channel their restlessness. If you’ve never tried Yoga as a class activity before, stick to fun poses for beginners to keep students feeling positive and motivated. 

3. Calm Down Corner

Don’t think of this corner as a punishment. Remember that calming down from big feelings isn’t a bad thing—it’s positive. 

A calm-down corner is a designated space that provides a quiet and safe area where challenging students can retreat to regulate their emotions. By teaching the child to utilize the calm-down corner effectively, teachers not only manage disruptive behaviors but also model healthy coping mechanisms for the entire class. 

4. Fidget Seats

Implementing fidget seats in the classroom is a practical strategy. For challenging students who may struggle with sitting still, fidget seats provide a discreet and acceptable outlet for movement. As these students engage with the fidget seats, their restlessness is managed, creating a more settled atmosphere. 

Other students also benefit from the non-disruptive nature of fidget seats, experiencing a more focused and less distracting learning environment. Just make sure your students under

5. Buddy System

Sometimes, those “distracting” kids just struggle to find friends and feel accepted. Pairing a challenging student with a responsible peer mentor provides the child with support and guidance. 

As the mentor assists the challenging student in navigating social interactions and maintaining focus, other students witness positive collaboration and empathy in action. This inclusive strategy fosters a sense of community, positively influencing the overall classroom dynamic and contributing to an environment where everyone can concentrate better.

6. Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

If you have a child in the classroom that you think needs consistent help, talk with the parents about what that help should look like. Work with the school to develop an IEP that addresses the specific needs of the hyperactive child. This plan can outline accommodations and modifications to support their learning and behavior.

That way, those students can receive the help and support they need as they continue on in future grades, not just for one year. 

Commit to Understanding and Accommodating Learning Styles

Effectively managing a distracting or difficult child in the classroom is not only essential for their individual well-being but also crucial for creating a focused and positive learning environment for all students. The six strategies explored in this article offer teachers versatile tools to address the unique needs of challenging students. 

By implementing these strategies, educators not only mitigate disruptions but also model inclusive and supportive approaches to the entire class. The ripple effect is a classroom where each student, regardless of their individual challenges, can engage more effectively, concentrate better, and ultimately thrive in their learning journey. 


Written by Rachel Jones

Education World Contributor

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