High energy kids… we’ve all been around them at some point.
In fact, before you had kids, you may have even leaned across the table at a restaurant to your partner and said, “Wow… our kids will NEVER act like that in public!”
And now here you are.
That adorable little bundle of joy you welcomed into your life years ago has suddenly turned into the energizer bunny… on speed.
The High Energy Child – 6 Helpful Tips For Parents
You have probably figured out that it’s really difficult to deplete all that energy, so here are some tips which might help you to manage it more effectively:
#1: Watch Their Diet
Most parents figure out early on that limiting sugar intake is a good idea (processed grains like breads, cereals, pasta and biscuits also have the same impact on blood sugar levels), but with a high energy child, you also have to watch for other stimulants such as caffeine, additives 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 articles 10 Surprising Foods That Can Affect Your Child’s Behaviour and 13 Healthy Breakfast Ideas.
#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 the 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.
For a great playdough recipe to try, check out this article.
#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. If you’re unable to, an alternative is to create opportunities for them to have this play time with other children.
These days, families are busier and more isolated – often we don’t even know our neighbours. Connect your chid with other children if you don’t want to be their sole source of play and connection.
#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.
#5: Cut Television And 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 three, 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 two 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.
#6: Focus On Their Positive Behaviours
The high energy child is probably used to being scolded.
He has likely 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.