3-5 yrs
Socio-Emotional Skills

Tips for Coping with a High-Energy Child

If parents give their child the right guidance and direction, they can help convert all that high energy into high potential.

An excessively high-energy child can sometimes become a parent’s nightmare. Getting them to sit down for mealtimes becomes a challenge and so does putting them to bed or getting them to focus on an activity. Parents then embark on an unending quest for energy and patience as they try to keep pace with their hyperactive child.

Want to remedy the situation? Changing your outlook towards high-energy needs to be your first step. High energy is equal to high-potential. Energy is a good thing if channeled correctly!

Think about…

A massive tidal wave coming at you with its full force. Scary! But if you were to take the wave’s energy and convert into electricity that can light up houses? That’s beautiful.

It’s exactly the same with your child’s energy. It can be destructive and scary or it can be transformed into something beautiful. And it’s a lot easier than harnessing a tidal wave!

Before we start discussing ways to channel this energy, let’s take a look at where this energy comes from. Most children have high metabolism rates. What they eat is equal to who they are. Controlling the amount of sugar your child eats can make a huge difference to your child’s overly high energy levels. Moving away from sugary drinks and snacks to more natural foods like fresh cut veggies and fruits is one solution. A strict schedule with pre-bedtime activities to wind down your child followed by regular sleep can also help.

Now, let’s consider how you can direct your kid’s energy to make it productive. This might be difficult, but keep reminding yourself to not label this energy as negative and something that you need to get rid of. Instead, challenge yourself to constantly think of productive ways to use this incredible energy that you have at your disposal.

The easy way out is to try and tire your child out with a series of constructive but physically demanding activities. You can get your child involved in a sport that requires a lot of running around, like football or tennis. Sports is also a great way for them to dissipate all the energy in a fun way. If your child is too young for a sport, try to get him into activities that involve running or jumping. Swimming is also something that takes up a lot of energy and can be fun for your child. Other physical activities could include martial arts, aerobics, or even dancing.

Asking your high-energy child to sit down and read a book or play board games will probably not work too well. Instead, get them toys or gear that will help them expend that energy; a cycle, a pogo-stick, roller skates or maybe even a hula hoop. These toys will keep them active while burning their energy. Once they have burnt some energy up, then maybe you can slip in a book while they recover!

If you are at home and your child is trying to get your attention while you are busy, try to be patient and involve them in some way. If you’re cooking, get them to be your little helper and fetch you the ingredients. Add an additional activity to it, like when fetching a vegetable, they must first take a quick run around the house and find five objects of the same color as the vegetable before handing it to you. If you’re doing the laundry, then get your child to load the clothes one at a time taking a quick lap around the house before putting the next piece of clothing.

Think of chores that you find tiring that your child can help you with. Think of ways to make these chores interesting and fun along with them. For example, you can race them to find things that are not in their proper place in a room. In a frantic few moments, the room can be much neater than it was and your child and you will have had a blast.

If you’re working from home, you can take some time to create a simple treasure hunt for your child to keep them busy for an extended period of time. Hide Lego blocks or puzzle pieces in different parts of the house. Promise them a yummy reward at lunch or dinner time if they manage to find all the pieces and put them together. Just remember not to give them a sugary dessert before bedtime!

Coming up with ideas or creating activities for your child might take a little more time, but it will definitely be rewarding to see them happily run around instead of sulking in a corner. Encourage and celebrate your child’s energy instead of punishing them for it. You will see a vast difference in how they respond to you and how you feel about it.

Radhika Anand Kale is a learning and content design consultant. After years of working a stressful office life, she now enjoys working from home in her pajamas with a cat on either side. She loves learning and loves helping others learn.

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