Unless you’ve been living under a rock, if you have kids, you’ve heard of the newest trending gadget… fidget spinners.
Little devices made of plastic and/or metal that boast the ability to soothe stress and pacify those of us who suffer from anxiety, autism, or ADHD. At first glance, they seem harmless and intriguing.
It wasn’t until my husband sent me to the mall to pick up one for my son, himself, and I that I even thought about the potential negative effects of the little gadgets. I was in the mall with my son, starting to grab three, but then the clerk laughed and mentioned how addictive the fidget spinners are. Something about that statement made me realize that these fidget spinners go against a lot of what I stand for. More so, they go against what I try to show my kids. In that moment, I decided to pass on getting one for myself.
As I paid for the spinners, I thought about how my own personal purpose in life is to help people reduce stress, to be present in their lives instead of hopelessly overstimulated. I’ve read numerous studies on how doing more than one thing at a time is less productive and even creates detrimental patterns, making it more challenging to focus. It almost felt like the stupid little plastic toys were mocking me.
We’re overstimulated. Our kids are overstimulated. The world is overstimulated. And here is one more appearingly harmless device to add to that noise.
Are these fidget spinners really doing us a favor or are they contributing to the problem they claim to be helping?
In working with stress and focus, the goal has always been to reduce the number of stimuli. Remembering to take things one at a time, as they come. These spinners seem to do just the opposite. They distract, they soothe, they pacify. The idea isn’t bad at all, but if my son is fidgeting so much he needs a special device to keep it contained, then there is definitely action beyond a toy that needs to be taken.
No one in our household has autism, ADHD, or clinical anxiety. There isn’t anything that “needs” to be treated other than the effects of living in a society moving as fast as the speed of light. Fidget spinners feed the urge to constantly be moving, constantly be doing something, rather than addressing it.
Where’s the solution?
As parents, we must live in the gray area. Sometimes more than we like. This is one of those instances. These fidget spinners contribute to the problem of overwhelm, even if it’s hard to see, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And honestly, it isn’t a mountain worth dying on.
Even if you do have a fidget spinner in your home, there are further actions we can take. We can teach our children how to be still. We can teach them self-discipline. We can encourage hobbies and activities that expend energy in a more productive manner like coloring, drawing, and physical activity. We can also allow them to be kids.
Kids are meant to have lots of energy. They are developing their ability to pay attention. They are experiencing a world that holds so many new and wondrous mysteries. Kids are curious, and yes, kids fidget.
Perhaps instead of focusing on ways to make them less of a nuisance, we should allow them to be kids?
Share your thoughts below in the comments. What do you think about fidget spinners?
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