How to Parent the Kinesthetic Learning Child

Recently, had a chance to enjoy my adult children, my 2 big grandchildren, and my 2 soon to be born grandchildren. The occasion just happened to be my birthday supper. After we had eaten and were waiting to have dessert and open presents my Kinesthetic grandson simply climbed into my lap and proceeded to “cuddle” me. His method of cuddling is to rub his head against my chin while his body tries to back itself right up against mine. I love this but I also remember days when my children were little and at the end of the day I just wanted a little space. God gave ‘visual me’ 2 kinesthetic children and the wisdom to learn to let them cuddle me to their hearts content when they were little. At times it is hard because if you are not kinesthetic, you really do want a little space no matter what your age. Just remember that a kinesthetic child is not trying to “get on your nerves” or “get in your face” but literally needs the contact of others to feel comfort.

Some of the ways I learned to comfort the young kinesthetic were to:

  • Stroke their hair or put your hand on their shoulder if you are sitting in a restaurant or other public where they might want security but you might not want them in your lap or leaning against you.
  • Hold their hand and play finger games to both keep their hands busy and to keep their minds engaged so they will not wander off.
  • When you watch a movie at home let them sit right up against your side when they get too big for your lap.They will sometimes wiggle so much you cannot concentrate on the movie but you are building a bond that will last through their teen years. Someday you will miss the wiggling.
  • Teach them at a young age to sit still with their upper body but give them something quiet to do with their hands. (Silly Putty is wonderful as it doesn’t leave a mess unless you let it melt in the car)
  • Teach an older kinesthetic how to give the appearance of stillness at a table (or desk) and yet give them an outlet for their movement such as quietly bouncing one leg under the table (make it a game and let them learn to bounce it so no one looking on can tell).
  • Gently rub a hand up and down their back to keep them from becoming distracted.

By creating ways of meeting the need of a Kinesthetic child for movement, a parent can avoid some of the “over activity” that many times defines this learning style.

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