You’re a few years into parenthood, and you’re beginning to notice how much your child loves to move about. His curious toddler mind always makes him go into your drawers, climb on the tables, or even go on his own adventure around the house.
Soon, you’ll find yourself looking at child safety equipment online like safety gates, window guards, or a swimming pool fence — anything to keep your active child safe. Some parents would say that having an active child is a good sign. But you may start asking yourself, how active should your child really be?
Yes, it’s a good sign for a child to be active in certain situations. If you’re out on a picnic, running around and chasing your dog is good. But if it’s always a challenge to keep him in his chair during mealtime or even while watching his favorite cartoon, then this could be a sign of hyperactivity.
Hyperactivity is only one of the signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And in America, over six million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. But don’t fret. There are ways to control your child’s hyperactivity so you can use it to both your benefits.
Have a Routine
Whether it’s on weekends, schooldays, or out on vacation, following a routine can help keep your hyperactive child in check. Create a schedule that works for your lifestyle at home during school days and a separate schedule for weekends, and stick with it. This will help set his expectations on what he must do and stop him from jumping from one random activity to another. Remember to give him a constant amount of time to transition between activities. This will help him cool down and prepare for his next activity. The key here is to be consistent, so make sure you create a routine that works well for everyone’s daily routine.
Feed Them Right
Feeding your child well is not the same as feeding him right. You can stop him from feeling hungry by giving him unlimited access to a snack box, but you may also be teaching him unhealthy eating habits that don’t give him the nutrients he needs. There are many snacks in groceries today that claim to be healthy, organic, or fortified with vitamins but still turn out to be harmful to your child. For example, there have been studies made that artificial food coloring increases hyperactivity in children. Thus, his usual bowl of Fruit Loops in the morning or his snack time Twinkies can be the cause of his non-stop marathon around the house. Keep his meals balanced and on time and make sure snacks are not always salty or sugary. This is also an excellent time to train your child to eat whole foods. Starting them early on the healthy stuff will always have the best benefits as they grow older.
Breath and Relax
Teaching your child how to calm down after a lively activity can help control his hyperactive tendencies. Learning how to sit down, close his eyes and just focus on his breathing is a good way to diffuse any sudden ideas he may have to do more. Breathing exercises can be taught to a child as early as two years old. Though the first few tries may not be a success, including a specific amount of time for breathing exercises in your daily routine, especially after a high-energy activity, will help him get used to it soon enough. As a result, he’ll learn how to harness that inner peace whenever he needs to.
Hyperactive children have a lot of excess energy in their body which they need to release. If they don’t release it, it can result in disruptive behavior, a sudden outburst of anger, or irrational tantrums that can go on for hours. Regular exercise might just be the answer to this. If your child discovers a sport he likes, let him join a team so that he can do it regularly. Or you can also take him out for a 30-minute daily walk, run, or bicycle ride. Any activity that will help him release that extra energy daily can balance out feelings of impulsiveness and anxiety, thus helping him stay more focused, more mindful, and less hyperactive.
These are just some ways you can help your hyperactive child find his balance. By practicing these steps, you can help him control his extra energy and turn it into something that can help him flourish as he grows older. But for now, your patience and perseverance in doing things consistently are all he needs to find that balance that will keep his energy at bay.