Parenting a hyperactive child can be challenging. While medications may help some children, many parents prefer to try natural calming methods first. Here are 7 effective ways to help calm your hyperactive child without medication:
1. Adjust Their Diet
What children eat can significantly impact their behavior. Try eliminating artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, which can increase hyperactivity. Provide meals high in protein, fiber and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar and supply steady energy. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, walnuts and flaxseeds may also calm the nervous system. Limit sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks which can overstimulate.
2. Increase Exercise
Vigorous physical activity helps hyperactive children burn off excess energy. Aim for at least an hour a day of energetic play. Activities that require focus and coordination like gymnastics, martial arts and dance can also improve concentration. Just be sure to avoid overly-stimulating video games right before bedtime. Regular exercise leads to better sleep and daytime calm.
3. Establish Routines
Children with ADHD thrive on routines which provide structure and predictability. Follow the same schedule for waking, meals, school, homework, play and bedtime. Use calendars, checklists and timers to keep activities on track. Make sure to build in downtime for unwinding before bed. Sticking to routines takes patience but prevents chaotic days.
4. Provide Frequent Breaks
Sitting still for long periods can be torturous for hyperactive kids. During homework, classroom work or family meals, allow scheduled breaks to get up and move around. Even a quick lap around the room helps redirect energy. Shift tasks frequently to hold their attention span. Shorter activity periods with planned breaks makes it easier to focus.
5. Teach Calming Skills
Children can learn simple strategies to self-soothe and control their impulses. Peaceful yoga poses, deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation elicit the “relaxation response.” Use fidget toys like stress balls and clay to occupy restless hands. Positive self-talk and visualization boosts self-regulation skills. These tactics enable kids to calm themselves in stirring situations.
6. Harness Nature’s Calming Effects
Several studies confirm that exposure to nature benefits hyperactive children. A walk through a park, hike in the woods, or just sitting under a tree can reduce symptoms. Interacting with pets and other animals also lowers stress. Even placing plants or nature photos in their rooms can have calming effects. Nature provides a soothing escape from overstimulating environments.
7. Limit Screen Time
Excessive screen time overstimulates developing brains and makes self-regulation more difficult. Set clear limits for the total hours spent daily on TV, computers, tablets and phones. Avoid screens for an hour before bedtime to prevent electronic excitement from disrupting sleep. Restricting and carefully monitoring the content watched also helps manage mood and behavior issues.
Parenting an excessively hyper child requires much patience. But implementing these natural strategies to calm their nervous system promotes self-control while avoiding medications. Consistency is key, so integrate approaches into your family’s daily routine. With time and consistency, your hyperactive child can learn to better manage their own behaviors.