Child Counseling: Do Fidget Spinners Actually Work?

Remember when fidget spinners were everywhere? You couldn’t walk two feet without seeing someone flicking one between their fingers. Originally touted as the go-to tool for kids with ADHD, anxiety, and autism, they quickly became the bane of existence for teachers and some parents, leading to bans in classrooms across the country. Despite losing their spot in the pop culture limelight, the conversation they started about kids’ focus and the tools we use to support that focus is still super relevant.

The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Fidget Spinners

So, the big question: Do fidget spinners actually help with attention spans? Well, the science is a bit thin on the ground. While we’re living in a digital age that champions multitasking (hello, scrolling through Instagram while watching TV), it’s no wonder attention spans are taking a hit. And yes, some studies suggest that our ability to focus has dipped. Enter tools like fidget spinners, aiming to bring our minds back from the digital brink to the here and now.

Schoolyard Controversy

The fidget spinner debate isn’t just about whether they work but also where they belong. Kate Ellison, an elementary school principal from Evanston, Illinois, pointed out that while they can be a distraction, they also kind of “normalized” the use of coping tools for all kids, not just those with special needs. This normalization is key. Before, kids using sensory tools might have felt singled out. Now, everyone wanted in on the action. It’s a small step toward inclusivity, showing that everyone has their own ways of managing stress and staying focused.

The Real Benefits of Fidgeting

Despite the lack of specific studies on fidget spinners, the broader consensus is that movement and sensory tools can indeed support focus, particularly for kids with ADHD. It’s not just about the gross motor movements but the subtle ways in which keeping our hands busy can help occupy parts of our brain that might otherwise lead us down a rabbit hole of distractions.

Beyond the Spinner

If your kiddo finds solace in their spinner, that’s great! But if you’re dealing with a ban or just looking for less controversial alternatives, there’s a whole world of options:

  • Doodling can unleash creativity and ease stress.
  • Mini-Meditations offer a quick reset for the mind.
  • Knitting or Crocheting engages the hands and calms the mind, plus you get a scarf out of it!

And If You Need a Bit More…Try Counseling for Kids

Sometimes, these tools and strategies might not cut it. If you’re finding that your child is still struggling, it might be time to consider counseling. At Cristina Panaccione and Associates, we’re all about providing that extra layer of support, helping kids navigate their challenges in a way that’s healthy and effective.

We’re here for you, ready to help your family find balance and focus in this ever-spinning world. If you’re curious about how we can support your child, drop us a line. Let’s make coping strategies as normal as bringing a pencil to class.

Remember, every kid is unique, and finding the right tool or strategy is a journey. But it’s a journey we don’t have to take alone. Whether it’s embracing the latest gadget or going back to basics with yarn and needles, the goal is the same: helping our kids (and hey, maybe ourselves too) find focus and calm in a world that doesn’t always make it easy.

Need a hand? Reach out to us at CPA Counseling. Let’s explore this together. If you need help and support, know we are here to do just that. Cristina Panaccione and Associates Counseling has locations in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and Robinson Township. We also offer Virtual Therapy Sessions. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients. Check out our services pages to learn how we can help you.

* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.


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