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Avatar universal

My son's teacher is concerned about him rocking all the time

My son is 6 and in kindergarten.  His teacher is very concerned about him rocking back and forth so much.  She says he does it when he is sitting and standing.  He does very well in school and likes school.  I don't notice him doing it at home unless he is sitting in a chair and rocking it.  Everywhere I've read it says it can be a coping mechanism.  When I ask him why he does it he says it makes him feel good.  Is this something I should be concerned about?  Should I try to stop him or let him be?  Is there something I can do to help him without making him feel like he is doing something wrong?   Like I said the teacher is concerned and now I am concerned.  
7 Responses
Avatar universal
I have a 9 year old who started doing things like that when he started Kindergarten.  He started out biting his nails.  After he stopped that he started "grunting" whenever he was sitting still or eating.  He became totally unaware he was doing it.  After that passed he started "twitching" his head and neck.  He did this really bad at baseball practices, so bad that I had parents ask me if he had turets syndrome.  Whenever he is put in a nervous position he will roll his head from side to side or rub his head on his shoulder.  Everytime he stops one thing he starts up with another.  He started blinking a lot after that.  He is now in 3rd grade and he does cart wheels all the time for no reason and will kind of jump up and roll his neck back.  Like you, I have asked him numerous times why he does this and he told me it feels good.  I have even taken him to the doctor for allergies, eyesight, etc.  He is a very smart, active kid.  He makes good grades.  For awhile I was convinced that I had done something to him as a baby to cause these nervous tendencies, but finally I have come to realize it is just his way of dealing with any kind of stress he may be feeling at the time.  He doesn't act out or anything.  His teachers have spoken to me also about these things.  Now I just watch him to see what the next "twitch" will be.  I hope this has helped you some.  I completely understand your concerns because I had them too.  Now I realize it is just part of my little boy's personality.
Avatar universal
hi
i have a 5 1/2 year old boy who i have noticed has different twitches when in different situations.
When he plays computer games, he'll scratch his head and rub his nose, because he is concentrating very hard. Lately he plays with his shirt collar obsessively, and bites his nails. He is a very active little boy and when he gets into stressful or new situations he acts very silly, jumping around like he he has "ants in his pants". I have to literally stop him from hurting himself.
Since he is only little, i am not doing much about it. However, i will keep an eye on these little obsessive quirks as they are starting to concern me
Have you found out about ADHD - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? for your little boy? I will look into that next myself
Avatar universal
rocking back and forth
biting his nails.
grunting" whenever he was sitting still or eating.
"twitching" his head and neck.
roll his head from side to side or rub his head on his shoulder.
blinking a lot
does cart wheels all the time for no reason
jump up and roll his neck back.
scratch his head and rub his nose,
plays with his shirt collar obsessively, and bites his nails
acts very silly, jumping around like he he has "ants in his pants".


I have copied and pasted the above behaviours from the three responses.  These are all behaviours due to anxiety.  Whether or not your child has an anxiety disorder would depend upon the severity of the behaviours and the level of stress the child feels.  I like to define anxiety as "severe stress which can reach toxic levels" and the behaviours above are ways your child is trying to cope and survive in his/her perceived unsafe world.  Anxiety is an inherited trait which can be managed but it will not go away nor will your child outgrow it.  

I might suggest you google the term "childhood anxiety disorders" (or something similar) to see any of the behaviours are similar to those of your child.  One book that I might suggest is "Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child" by Katharina Manassis which can be purchased on-line or borrowed from your local library.  There are also many other excellent books and resources which can help you to help your child.  Hope this helps ...
Avatar universal
He's only 6; appears to be confined to doing it at school and is otherwise doing fine... to me, if a little rocking (or thumb sucking) is needed as a coping mechanism with his social or academic work so what? Perhaps it is his "concentration" mode or his relaxation mode after applying himself.... and a sign of something very positive and healthy, not a worry. I've heard it said that lonely people rock - perhaps there is a big bustle around him and he feels a little left out (not always bad inthe kind of mischief that some kids get up to).

If the teacher is concerned I'd ask her why; what is the problem; what would she recommend was done; what is the way forward etc. To me that is the worst kind of stress to give a parent - hinting that something is wrong and leaving it at that.... and it happens on HER territory... maybe he is in a draft and is rocking to warmup a little.... or can hear music down the corridor....
Avatar universal
My son started blinking his eyes in 1st grade -- they told me it was probably dry eyes-- 2nd grade started sniffing and twitching his nose like a rabbit-- then during summer between third and 4th he started rolling his eyes and lifting his shoulders alot.  I began looking into it more then because it now couldn't be blown off as dry eyes or allergies.  I knew something else was going on.  I took him to a specialist because I thought he had Tourette's.  Sure enough he was diagnosed in 4th grade.  It is not a bad thing.  He does not need to be medicated because he has learned to control it for the most part and has always been intelligent.  It has never interferred with his schooling.  I will recommend something to you "I have Tourette's, but Tourette's doesn't have me"  it is a production that was on HBO Family.  Also, go to the Tourette's Syndrome website.  It is very informational.  I hope you get some answers.  Just knowing what it is helps to understand it.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the information.  Sorry I haven't responded sooner, I've been away.  I have always worried about Tourette's in my little boy, but honestly I've always tried to find a different cause.  Don't ask me why, but I have.  After reading what you wrote, I think I'm going to try and get him into a doctor somewhere.  He is very smart, especially at math.  I'm especially worried now because he will be changing to a new school next year.  He has been at a Christian School since Pre-school and they know him well and have worked with him wonderfully.  Due to financial reasons, we're going to have to move them next year.  Does Tourette's get progressively worse or do they "stay" where they are at when diagnosed?  I would love to hear from you on this.  Thanks!
Avatar universal
Thank you to everyone who has posted a comment.  At first, I was really upset that the teacher has brought this up twice and says she is very concerned.  I've decided it is a coping mechanism.  He doesn't disturb the class and I've asked him if he could maybe try do not do it so much.  He said yes.  I didn't want to make it a big deal to him and make him more selfconscience.  I asked my doctor and he wasn't concerned about it.  My only concern now is that he would be teased by the other kids about it but I don't think that is happening.  Thanks again for the help.
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