Having a hyperactive or overly energetic child can be challenging for any parent. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or similar conditions often have trouble sitting still, staying focused, and controlling their behavior. This can lead to difficulties at home in completing chores, following rules, and getting along with siblings.
As a parent, it’s understandable to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. However, there are positive, effective ways to manage your hyperactive child while keeping your cool. Here are 10 tips:
- Stick to a Routine: Consistent routines help hyperactive children know what to expect. Have set times for meals, homework, play, and bedtime. Use timers, schedules, checklists, or visual charts to reinforce the routine. Avoid sudden changes when possible.
- Use Positive Reinforcement: When your child shows positive behavior, offer praise, encouragement, or small rewards. Positive incentives work better than punishment. Let them know specifically what they did well.
- Set Clear Expectations: Explain rules and consequences clearly and concisely. Use brief, simple instructions. Have them repeat back to check understanding. Post reminders like signs or checklists. Be consistent in following through when expectations aren’t met.
- Encourage Physical Activity: Children with excess energy benefit greatly from regular vigorous exercise which allows them an appropriate outlet. Take them to the park, ride bikes, or play sports together.
- Provide Fidget Toys: It can be helpful to keep hands busy with stress balls, dough, chewing gum, squeeze toys, or other fidget items. Allow doodling or squeezing putty during sit-down activities.
- Give Brain Breaks: During lengthy tasks, allow timed breaks for movement or distraction. Jumping jacks, dancing, or a funny YouTube video can get wiggles out before settling back into homework.
- Designate Calm-Down Areas: Create a safe, comforting space they can choose to visit when angry or overexcited. Provide items like stuffed animals, books, coloring books, music, and pillows. Teach calming techniques.
- Maintain a Structured Schedule: Follow a consistent wakeup time, meal schedule, and bedtime routine including brushing teeth, potty time, pajamas, story time and lights out. Knowing what comes next can be very settling.
- Set a Good Example: Model the kindness, self-control, and healthy habits you want to pass on. Your calm presence and predictable reactions are reassuring versus volatile emotions which can trigger kids’ behavior.
- Ask Other Caregivers for Support: Enlist your spouse, family members, or babysitters to enforce the same structures, rules, rewards and consequences when they care for your child. Consistency across caregivers is key.
While challenging, even the most energetic kids can thrive with structure, patience and compassion. Focus on positive reinforcement, finding appropriate outlets, and Tales teaching self-regulation skills. With time and consistency, the strategies above can help manage behaviors in a healthy way, creating a calmer home environment. Most importantly, let your child know you care about them and want to help them succeed. With your support, they can learn to manage their own behaviors over time.