Watching a snow globe can be a calming activity for a spirited toddler.

How to Calm a Spirited Toddler

by Maggie McCormick

Parenting a spirited toddler can be challenging -- to say the least. His energy knows no bounds. Some days, he's all over the house, into everything and other days he's sneaking outside, where even worse mishaps could occur. Other moms post Facebook statuses about the quiet of nap time, and you're just trying to keep him out of trouble. Nap time? When was that? You barely remember the last time he napped. Having an active toddler has its rewards, but sometimes, you just need him to calm down.

Keep calm and carry on. Your toddler sucks up your energy like you suck down your long-awaited pumpkin spice latte. If you're anxious and energetic, he's going to follow suit. It's best if you work hard to go about your day in a calm manner. Maybe that will rub off on him, too.

Create a call and response. Take a tip from teachers everywhere, who often develop a signal they use when the class is getting too rowdy. This might be flipping the lights on and off, clapping your hands three times or singing part of a song. Do this when your toddler starts bouncing off the walls to try to bring him back to Earth. Say something like, "It's getting a little noisy. Let's count to 10 and then start playing more quietly."

Turn off the TV. Though TV might seem like a relaxing thing to do, some children are more stimulated by watching TV. There are so many sights, sounds, colors, people and music. So stimulating! In particular, children who see violence and aggression on TV can act more aggressively, according to Super Nanny.

Take him outside. Active toddlers need a lot of active play to relieve their tension. Weather permitting, go outside as often as possible. At a nearby playground, he may be able to interact with other toddlers. On a nature walk, you can enjoy a relaxing walk with him.

Give him a focal point. You want him to sit still, but he wants to be doing something. Give him something to look at or do as he calms down. A snow globe or an hourglass is something he can watch while he takes a break. Some children feel more calm when they're doing something with their hands, so a small item or toy that he can manipulate, might help. Since he will be under 3 years of age, make sure the item has a diameter of at least 1 3/4 inches and does not contain small parts.

Stick to your schedule. Though he fights sleep, he needs sleep. Following a set schedule every day -- especially a set bedtime -- will ensure that he gets the rest he needs.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images