Hyperactive is often synonymous with the word toddler. Most toddlers can’t seem to learn to stay still for very long, nor can they seem to learn to stay out of trouble. While living with a hyperactive toddler can be exhausting, there are a few ways to calm him down :-
- Make sure that there is no stress or illness in the family contributing to such behaviour.
- Emphasize routines. Try and provide meals, naps, food, outings etc a scheduled time each day. Set limits but don’t physically restrain the child.
- Gradually improve his attention span by introducing games like “lets see if you can sit quietly for 2 minutes” or try reading a book or playing a game together.
- Praise quiet play even if it was very brief.
- Help the child to improve the skills involved in dressing himself, feeding himself, playing games etc. as frustration can set off hyperactivity.
- Keep lots of distractions ready and take lots of breaks, especially while travelling.
- If he needs less sleep, don’t force him to sleep. Establish a soothing nighttime ritual for him. Discourage over-stimulation before bedtime.
- Experiment with the diet to see if any particular food causes hyperactivity.
- Make it clear that you love him anyway. Unconditional love and support will help him to become more self-disciplined.
- Channel the energy into constructive activities like outdoor play, running, jumping, skipping.
- Take extra care of the safety aspects. Never leave him unsupervised. When out of the house try and dress him in bright colours so that you can spot him from far away.
- Take care of yourself. Don’t be shy of asking relatives or friends to help out with him.
- Don’t have unreasonable expectations. Whatever you do, a hyperactive child is going to have a shorter attention span than others and a disinclination for sitting still.
- Check with a paediatrician to ensure that he doesn’t have Attention deficit disorder
Attention Deficit Disorder is a medical condition and requires medical treatment. If you feel that your child is unable to play quietly by himself, tends to be over-aggressive or cannot sit quietly even for 1-2 minutes, consult your paediatrician.
Expert View – All children are naughty, curious, restless and easily bored. This could simply be channelized by the mother into constructive activities. However children who have attention deficit disorder have 3 main characteristics :
- Inattention (unable to finish a task, unable to concentrate)
- Hyperactivity (unable to sit still, climbing, jumping, fidgeting so much that mother has to keep a watch constantly)
- Impulsivity (does things without thinking, not scared or cautious)
An Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder child is like this in almost all situations including games, TV watching as well as academics. It is not that he is not interested, it is that he just cannot wait or be attentive for anything.