Give your toddler lots of opportunities to burn that energy.

How to Calm a Hyper Toddler

by Tammy Dray

If you have a toddler who's always on the go go go, you know how hard it is to find the off switch. Being "hyper" can be a natural part of being a toddler, or it can indicate an underlying problem, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. Talk to your pediatrician if you feel your toddler's excitability is interfering with his ability to learn or listen. Otherwise, a combination of calming and tiring activities can help your wound-up kid wind down.

1 Find an outlet for your toddler's energy. Enroll him in soccer or dance lessons. Get him a small bike and take him out to ride through the local park. Get a high-energy dog so they can play together in the yard. If you have planned periods of time where your toddler can run and use his energy, he might not be so hyper by the time you are home together.

2 Set up a "quiet corner" for your toddler. This could be a beanbag chair or a mat in a corner of his bedroom. Then add a chest or box full of activities that require him to sit still, such as coloring books, electronic learning games, building blocks or picture books. When your child gets too hyper, ask him to spend some time in his "quiet corner." Don't make that feel like a punishment. Instead, emphasize the fun of the quiet activities so your child can learn to enjoy them.

3 Remove your toddler from a situation if you think it's making the problem worse. Take him to the side and ask him softly to slow down. If he's unable to calm himself, it might be time to leave. Sometimes all it takes for a hyper child to chill is changing the environment.

4 Try calming activities. Yoga, massage or breathing techniques might not sound like things a toddler would enjoy, but they're worth a shot. Search for trained professionals who work with toddlers. They should be able to give you tips on how to incorporate these activities into your daily routine, either by practicing at home or attending classes or sessions.

Tip

  • Diet can have an effect on the activity level of your toddler. If your child eats a lot of sugar and processed foods, try to switch to a healthier, more natural diet. For example, ban white bread in favor of whole-wheat. A well-balanced diet will provide a constant level of energy throughout the day and prevent ups and downs that can be exhausting for both your child and yourself.

Warning

  • Don't expect toddlers to guess what's acceptable behavior and what isn't. If there are things they're not allowed to do inside the house -- such as running, jumping or playing ball -- let them know in advance. When they try to engage in those activities, remind them that those things are not allowed inside the house. Make sure you have a list of alternative activities that are approved, such as reading, coloring or playing in the computer.

About the Author

Aside from writing experience, I also have coaching/teaching experience, both as an writing coach (currently teaching three workshops at www.coffeehouseforwriters.com) and an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language)teacher abroad. I'm a certified Nutrition Consultant and fitness trainer and a longtime contributor to health/wellness publications, from Self to Marie Claire. I am fluent in Spanish and have worked as a translator and a language instructor. I also have two books forthcoming in 2008.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images