Any tips for calming down a hyperactive child?(29 Posts)
Dd1 is 5. She's quite intense (I've posted about her before). She's very enthusiastic but sometimes it all gets a bit much - she's always dashing about, talking at the top of her voice, talking over people, trying to climb up on to the worktops and look for stuff when she's already asked me to help her find it and I'm trying to - generally doing everything at top speed and top volume. It can get a bit stressy. I know half the battle is trying to avoid her getting over excited in the first place but has anyone got any tips for getting her just to calm down a notch once she is? I always end up getting flustered and shouting "Dd you need to CALM DOWN" which even while I'm saying it doesn't feel the most effective approach. Thanks for any tips.
☺ that sounds like my son! (And my response) Basically had to keep him occupied and take him outdoors a lot. I'm hoping you get some good tips. I didn't get far with calming but did get good at harnessing the power for good.
Gymnastics, dance, martial arts, swimming. Gymnastic especially as it's "early start" so they can be doing 12 hours/week by 7.
At the very least it gives you an hour here and there for a sit down while she burns energy.
Teaches them to focus their energy and use ot effectively. Plus they tend to be good at it
As soon as she starts ramping up the volume/activity to excessive levels you crouch down facing her, holding her hands, ask her to look at you and say "I need you to use a lower volume/stay on the floor, not the worktop/ sit on the couch, not climb on it" etc. You have to tell her what you want her to do and then point out what you don't want her to do. "Calm down" is fine for an adult but to a child it isn't specific enough. She doesn't know what she need she to calm down. You need to tell her and you need to be calm yourself when you do so don't et it get to the point where you are yelling in frustration.
Btw my son is like this. He jus gets carried away with his own intentions/excitement. I always need to bring him back down.
Sounds like sensory seeking
Swimming, trampolining both good to meet the child's need for input
Also pressing down hard on their shoulders, giving a bear hug
Lots and lots of outdoor free play, getting wet and muddy, building stuff, climbing and running around. My eldest is a bundle of energy and it peaked at age 4/5, she's 9 now and still needs to spend more time outdoors than in and lots of time creating stuff. She likes some meditation techniques when it all gets a bit too much or at bedtime so that's worth a try too
I would say three things:
Lots of running type things outdoors in the fresh air.
When at home, try as hard as you can to be uber calm and quiet yourselves - no raised voices or calling from room to room, quiet classical music playing in the background, tidy uncluttered house.
As far as you can, aim for diet to be full of fresh food, not packaged. Especially avoid sugary things.
Thanks everyone. Will try these things. We do spend a lot of time outside /doing stuff but i have dd2 as well who still naps and also dd1 loves "craft" or baking but it always turns into chaos. She just has no patience whatsoever so while I'm getting out the flour she's already cracking the eggs or whatever. And always with constant yapping at high volume. Will work on the orderly calm house. I would love that myself but it's easier said than done (dd2 is a toddler but generally a calmer personality)
A good idea if she's is prone to getting ahead of herself is to go through the steps before you start, and get her to repeat them with you. So she knows that step 1: flour goes in the bowl first, then and only then, step 2: eggs. Might help even if you wrote them out that way or had picture guides for her.
Thanks for the article Della. How would i know if she has this? I wouldn't call her out of control at parties etc - that tends to be where she is in her element - but some of it rings true. She has a teddy she's very attached to. She likes to smell his ear. She doesn't have him at school but almost everywhere else and it's the first thing she asks for at pickup. She gets quite distraught if i don't have him. school find her challenging and rewarding in equal measure and i do remember one teacher describing her as very tactile. She loves playdoh and fluffy clothing.
My oldest child was referred to a paediatrician/occupational therapist by his school at the age of about 7, suspected dyspraxia due to poor fine motor control, but was diagnosed with hypermobile joints/sensory processing disorder, and subsequently had OT and various aids to help him with fidgeting etc
At the age of 14, he still has the same traits but it has never held him back academically
Speak to your GP, and/or school SENCO and see if she can be referred?
Thanks. It's very hard to know what to think as she fits a few of those (poor fine motor skills and tuning out) but lots of the more obvious ones she doesn't. I honestly wouldn't call her inclined to be overwhelmed by stimulus. When she gets hyperactive it's often when we are at home - and is worse if she's tired. I really do struggle with getting her to do as she's told though (or stop doing that, climb down from there, etc). As do school. You often have to physically stop her.
Sensory issues can be in both directions - so either overwhelmed by sensation, or seeking sensation
Thanks. I didn't really know that. I had wondered about that ADHD but school/Dr just said she was too young for diagnosis
As well as fab advice here - I found that good sleep helped as well as magnesium for relaxation. You can use Epsom Salts in the bath. I started with my DS at 2 years old and it helped him relax. (Its magnesium absorbed transdermally)
He's now 13 and fab, he takes magnesium and a few other calming supplements and gets lots of exercise. He's a great kid. Good luck.
Thanks Bundeligsa. There's definitely a correlation with sleep. She's generally a good sleeper but if she wakes a bit early one day she's out of control. I'll look into calming supplements, thank you. There's also a correlation with constipation, which she suffers from (well, stool withholding really), but i never know which is the chicken and which is the egg.
longest I have no advice but you are describing my DD (age 4), almost to a tee, so I am watching with a lot of interest.
DD is definitely sensory seeking, also has a much adored soft toy (who we lost on Thursday! AAAAGH), is prone to constipation (won't stay on loo long enough to poo! Books and using a potty help), is constantly loud and silly, doesn't do what she's told. More hyperactive at home as you say. It feels like she is winding herself up so as to be stimulated, iyswim? Whereas if there is external stimulus (ie we are somewhere new/interesting) she doesn't need to do that. I often tell her to calm down, it doesn't work!
DD is a worse sleeper than yours however, she wakes early almost every day, so we get the out of control days pretty often... <sigh>
Thanks Minipie. Solidarity wave. She is very rewarding as she's easy to delight,but hard work also. And i am actually hyperventilating at the thought of losing her bear so i am sorry this has happened to you. I really, really hope you find it. We've had a couple of near misses.
She's almost never still. If we are practising reading she's always trying to stand on her head or kicking things around with her feet. I don't know if that's just normal for a spirited 5 year old though. She has an August birthday so is young in her year. She's bright and confident so is in some ways fine but struggles with some of the expected behaviours and physical stamina/concentration i feel. It's much easier now she can read easily though as she just reads constantly while we are out and about and i don't need to make her sit and concentrate to practise
Sounds like my DD. She has an August birthday too and never sits still.
We've just started doing gymnastics twice a week and she loves it!
We have an additional issue in that her lack of stillness means she struggles to go to bed / sleep...
So sympathy from me basically. I do find lots of exercise helps. And lowering my expectations a bit re sitting still.
Dreading the school's expectations in year 1 I must say, currently in reception they're still allowed to be quite 'mobile'...
Just had a look at the SPD parents' page on Facebook. One of the first posts was about leg pains which made me sit upright as she often complains of this. It also fits with the stool withholding thing. She's a bit of an enigma though as a lot of the other things don't really fit her. I don't think she invades personal space and she's got reasonable emotional intelligence i think. I've never noticed her exhibiting any odd behaviour as such, eg spinning etc. I don't know whether to pursue it with school/the GP. If they were still struggling with her behaviour i would do but we just had parents' evening where they said she was loads better than at the beginning of the year.
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