High energy kids. We’ve all been around them at some point. In fact, before you had kids, you might have even leaned across the table at a restaurant to your future spouse and said, “Wow..our kids will NEVER act like that in public.” And now here you are, and that adorable little bundle of joy you welcomed into your home with open arms years ago has suddenly turned into the energizer bunny…on speed. You have probably figured out there is no way to deplete that energy, so here are some tips that might help you to manage it more effectively:
High Energy Kids Tip#1: Watch Their Diet
Most parents figure out early on that limiting sugar intake is a good idea, but with a high energy child, you also have to watch for other stimulants such as caffeine, processed wheat products (breads, biscuits, cake) and other chemicals. Read labels and know the sugar content of what your child is eating and drinking. Find healthier alternatives for treats and snacks when going on playdates or to the movies. Take a look at our article, 10 Surprising Foods That Can Affect Your Child’s Behaviour.
High Energy Kids Tip #2: Find Activities For Your Child
Some people believe starting a child in sports too young can burn them out at an earlier age, but the high energy child needs that opportunity to run off some excess energy. Look for activities that allow your child to run, jump, dance or move around. Rather than going to the library for reading circle, find a tumbling class or swimming lessons to help burn off energy. Sensory activities can be very calming – you can try activities like playing in a sandpit or with playdough. HERE is a great playdough recipe to try.
High Energy Kids Tip #3: Play With Your Child
The high energy child needs interaction and stimulation from others. These children can’t be put in front of a TV or given a book to read while you do things around the house. They will get into things, break things or just be bored! Make time to play games with them; things like role playing, tag, tumbling in the grass, etc.
High Energy Kids Tip #4: Purchase Toys That Require Movement And Activity
The high energy child likes to be doing something. They like toys that require movement, such as bikes and tricycles, balls, hoola hoops, Frisbees and toy trucks. These kids probably won’t be content for long reading books or colouring, and they usually can’t sit quietly in front of a TV for long periods of time.
High Energy Kids Tip #5: Cut Television/Screen Time Where Possible
Televisions and electronic games have shown to result in attention and other behavioural problems. Dimitri Christakis, a paediatrician, father and the director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior & Development in Seattle, found that the more television children watched before the age of 3, the more likely they were to have attention problems at school than those who watched none. For every hour of television watched per day, children were 10% more likely to have attention problems ” for example 2 hours of television per day would equate to being 20% more at risk of attention problems. Read more about Doctor Christakis’ work in our article about screen time and developing brains HERE.
High Energy Kids Tip #6: Focus On Their Positive Behaviours
The high energy child is used to being scolded. He has probably been told to “sit still” and “stop jumping around” his whole life. Watch for things to compliment him about. If he is sitting quietly while you are waiting for an appointment or talking to another adult, be sure to tell him that you noticed him sitting patiently. If she is walking quietly by your side while you grocery shop, and not jumping into the lanes of other shoppers, point out that you noticed, and she should be proud of herself (that way she learns to seek approval from within, and not externally).
Kids with high energy are not “bad kids”. They are usually very inquisitive and full of life, and they are not intentionally trying to annoy you. Learning to manage the behaviours, rather than trying to rein the child in, can help make a more peaceful environment for the entire family.