Friday, February 26, 2010

4 Tips From a 7-Year-Old to Keep Bum in Chair

Gracee has a problem with focus and staying in her second-grade seat.

I say she's observant and creative.

She also talks a lot.

I say she's social.

The psychologist says she has clinical ADD. Attention time for something not particularly interesting?

Five minutes.


I help out in her class on Thursday mornings, reading with the kids or taking them to a quiet place to work on unfinished papers. Gracee usually runs to greet me. Yesterday she barely glanced up and went back to work.

She was "on the clock."

What changed to keep her bum in chair?

1. She now wears a wrist coil. She can twist and pull on it when she feels the need to get up or just needs to think.

2. She has a stress ball to squeeze when she needs to sit still and listen.

3. She has a "special" seat facing the wall to help decrease classroom distractions when she needs to stay on task.

4. She uses a timer to help her complete her work in a timely manner.

I thought the timer would add more stress. Tick. Tick. Tick. But she loves it!

The teacher uses a behavior card system that runs from green to blue to yellow to orange to red to black. Increasing consequences are attached as the colors progress, from owing recess minutes to missing out on special activities to calling home. Gracee has hit black before--mostly for talking.

Yesterday, Thursday, I noticed her card was still green!

I'm thinking these techniques might help me keep my own writing bum in chair. Maybe I can even use my own card system during writing time.

Up to rummage for food? Blue.

Up to go out and check snail mail? Yellow.

Up to check out the latest cable news? Orange.

Up to replenish the chocolate dish? Red.

Short on the day's word count? Black!

Maybe I need to set a timer, put a coil on my wrist, close the shade, and fill the candy dish with a stress ball.

How do you keep your bum in your chair when you are supposed to be writing?


  1. Maybe I should try that. My greatest weakness seems to be minimizing my WIP so I can check FB updates.

  2. LOL! Maybe twisting the coil would keep the hand off the FB mouse!

  3. I need to borrow some of Gracee's techniques! I am pretty good about it when I have a deadline, but other times it is so easy to get distracted.
    Have a good weekend,

  4. I LOVE this!! I am thinking I might need to use some of these also. I am so easily distracted, by so many things. Wondering what Gracee would do with day dreaming or getting lost in your thoughts.....hmmmm

  5. @Karen: Me, too, with deadlines. I'll get it done, but I might put it off so long I have scramble to meet it!

    @Sharon: Isn't daydreaming a good thing for a writer to do?

  6. Sandra, do you mind if I pass this on to my sister-in-law. She's not a writer. But, she has 4 kids. I think these ideas could work on all kids and most adults. :)

    God bless,

  7. Nora, thanks for stopping by. Absolutely. Use it.