All About Kids

6 Things Kids Do When They Reflect or Think

Kids do certain mannerisms or behaviors because it helps them think better.

We’re quick to scold kids for doing certain behaviors like pacing around, murmuring to themselves, twirling a pen, and many other forms of fidgeting in fear of them being labeled. But, those behaviors are something normal adults do, too! Sometimes, being deep in thought or “in the zone” makes us do certain things to help us focus. The same goes for kids; many of these behaviors are their way of trying to understand or imagine things.

A kid thinking

1. Pacing

Some kids like pacing because movement creates adrenaline which helps people become more alert and focused. It also helps kids be less frustrated because the negative energy spent trying to figure things out is transformed into physical movement.

2. Talking to themselves

Sometimes, kids talk to themselves. Having imaginary friends allows them “independent play”, letting them engage their creative thinking. However, another form of talking to themselves is something Psychology calls “thinking aloud”. Because kids struggle to understand abstract things, they talk to themselves to concretize it — or give it a more physical form to better imagine things.

3. Twirling pens

Some kids find comfort in twirling pens or pencils because it generates a controlled rhythm that helps them think. When the pressure is on in an exam or a presentation, the twirling pen serves as an “anchor” that helps them stay calm and focused because while they can’t control the questions in the exam or presentation, they can control the speed of the pen. Just remind them not to bite it though!

4. Snapping fingers

Similar to twirling pens, kids snap their fingers to create a rhythm that their minds can focus on to think better. The concept of snapping applies the same principles of how classical music helps people study. The controlled rhythm, especially one that is smooth and flowing, helps kids build their thoughts and arguments better. Moreover, it helps unleash the extra, unneeded energy of trying to sort their memories.

5. Twirling their hair

Girls often do this especially those with long hair, not because it makes them look cute but, because it allows them to think — similar to twirling pens. Sometimes, twirling the hair, especially when done with extra force, is their way of coping with the sudden overwhelming amount of emotions. This kind of behavior needs a little monitoring though, especially if they pull out a fistful of hair by mistake.

6. Tapping the table or wall

Tapping can get irritating but it’s not worth yelling at our kids for, especially when they’re just trying to remember something. Sounds can help trigger some old memories or concepts, especially when they’re trying to remember their favorite song but only know the rhythm and melody. The tapping movement can also mean they’re simulating something by drawing a table or mind map in the air.

Don’t be quick to judge! Kids have their own ways of thinking!

It worries parents when kids do these behaviors because they think people will be quick to label them with developmental disabilities. But for those who are mindful of their own behaviors, they’ll realize that behaviors were something they also did as kids and nobody minded. These behaviors are not worth scolding our kids over except when they do it at the wrong time and place. Because as far as we see, these behaviors are not hurting anybody.

More about kids:

Empty Nest Syndrome: The Loneliness Parents Feel When Kids Leave
Joy and Edric Mendoza on Raising Different Kids in the Digital Age
What is Mother Tongue And How Does It Affect Our Kids’ Learning?

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