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4 year old hyper(?) active

(25 Posts)
MarzipanPiggy Mon 17-Apr-17 22:15:46

I've posted about DD before, mainly issues around getting her to relax enough to go to sleep in the evening.

This is a more general question about extremely active four year olds and how to get them to slow down.

DD is constantly on the move, both physically and mentally extremely active, doesn't sit still, doesn't slow down, never stops talking. She goes to sleep while talking at bedtime, talks in her sleep and wakes up talking.

At what point does this become a concern? Will she grow out of it? On the one hand it's lovely that she's always enthusiastic/into everything, but it's also exhausting for her and for us. And for DS who is entirely different and loves peace and quiet!

She calms down when she watches tv, or listens to a audiobook story while in the car. Sometimes while colouring or drawing. But if I read to her she's doing role polies around me and bouncing on the bed.

Anyone else have a DC like this?

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 20-Apr-17 17:59:24

Not experienced this so can't be of much use sorry. Is she getting enough sleep? What time is she zonking out?

MarzipanPiggy Thu 20-Apr-17 20:30:08

Thanks for replying Jilted. I had almost given up hope!

She's almost certainly not getting enough sleep so that's part of the problem. Asleep by about 8.30pm, awake at 7am. Bedtimes are very hard. She simply cannot relax. She now has a music / star show which helps but she still falls asleep while talking to her cuddles, and only after having been out many times for a range of reasons...

We are seeing a paediatrician about something else (wee accidents) in June and I am considering mentioning the level of activity / bedtime issue too but not sure if it'll really be considered a medical issue...

At school she has to sit at the front of the mat so the teacher can keep an eye on her fidgeting, but other than that she seems to be doing well / very enthusiastic to learn and experiment.

Difficult to get a sense for how normal things are especially with your eldest!

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 21-Apr-17 16:42:40

It is very hard to judge, especially when she's your eldest, like you said. It's almost like the eldest is the practice model smile

I would definitely mention it to the Paed, and having to sit at the front in class. Lots of background information can only be a good thing surely?

MarzipanPiggy Sat 22-Apr-17 20:00:06

Yes practice model sounds about right!

Will see what the paediatrician says. I suppose she is the way she is but it'd be useful to know whether there is anything we can do to help her calm down.. Apart from anything else it must be exhausting for DD herself..

farfarawayfromhome Sat 22-Apr-17 20:13:36

Have you tried the headspace app? It has great mini meditation exercise for kids , even small ones. I was sceptical but my toddler loves it.

twoforthepriceofone22 Sun 23-Apr-17 02:39:54

Does she have plenty of opportunities to really burn up her energy? Somewhere that she can run/jump/shout as much as she needs?
Does she have a trampoline? Go to sports classes?
I always say looking after my 5 year old ds is like owning a large dog, needs exercising 3 times a day no matter what.
You probably already do this but it might just be worth considering if she has enough opportunity to let loose every day.

MarzipanPiggy Mon 24-Apr-17 19:26:42

Thanks, I will look into the headspace app.

At school she has some form of sport three times a week, and she does gymnastics, tennis and swimming outside school. Of course it may be that what she actually needs more of is 'unstructured running around'.

I know it's not good to compare too much but compared to her peers she seems to be very energetic and also emotional. The most frequently used expression in this house is some version of 'calm down a bit please'.

I don't want to talk her down as she's really caring, sensitive and imaginative too, just never still...

MarzipanPiggy Mon 24-Apr-17 19:28:41

Actually I think a trampoline would be brilliant. Great idea.

Naty1 Mon 24-Apr-17 19:46:59

Any hearing issue/ear infections or sight problems?

My dd is/was similar. (Would never sit for stiry at playgroups). She has got better at school. Her attention for some things is very long though (reading herself).

Yellowcups Mon 24-Apr-17 20:04:27

My boy is exactly like this. Asleep eventually for around 8.30 and awake just before 7. Sleeps in longer on school days 🙄.

No advice really. I can't get him to sleep longer or earlier. He eats no sweets choc or deserts or juice as I firmly believe ( despite what MN and scientific research claims) artificial sugar changes his energy and mood. He has got to 5 with twice a day exercise ( not just walking to shops but hardcore running scooting etc). He does respond to school well but is the most energetic.

When we leave softplay he will always ask 'what are we doing now mum?'. Other parents smile as compared to my one their children seem positively lazy.

I am using classical music at bedtime. During day I explain constantly that he needs to turn his volume down or off sometimes.

Like ur girl probably he lives his life with constant commentary. Speaking singing and dancing his ideas of which He often asks me to film him.

I too would happy for any advice.

Yellowcups Mon 24-Apr-17 20:06:41

Fortunately concentration isn't an issue.

twoforthepriceofone22 Mon 24-Apr-17 21:38:50

She sounds quite like my ds and yes he does seem to regularly need to just let rip, run, jump, climb and shout at the top of
his voice, no amount of structured exercise replaces this for him,

MarzipanPiggy Mon 24-Apr-17 21:51:03

Ah you have my sympathy YellowCup, we are clearly in the same boat.

My gut feeling is that it's probably within the spectrum of normal four/five year old behaviour, just at the exhausting end, and all the more surprising as DH and I are extremely lazy calm people.

Her vision or hearing hasn't been tested, although I've not noticed anything to suggest there might be a problem. No ear infections.

The classical music at bedtime thing is a very good idea and we do have a gentle starlight / music show thingy for her which does help, but somehow she manages to 'fuss' even over that. It's not in the right place / at the right volume / the room is too dark or not dark enough to see the stars etc etc. She'll get up fifteen times to move it two millimetres to the left or right..

Yellowcups Tue 25-Apr-17 08:17:16

Marzipan I do find that talking helps the most and explaining how I'd like him to be. It all sounds a bit negative but I do the whole ' I expect you to walk beside me to school with no jumping ir shouting'. We also have a points in a jar for good stuff that happens, reading or kindness or remembering to turn his volume down. He's quite responsive to it especially as points get taken out.

My worst time of the day is walking to and from school. All the other children are dragging their feet with tiredness but my boy is running around like a loon and it's not as simple as 'making him behave' ' telling him off' as these things don't work unless your child is scared of you or passive.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 25-Apr-17 08:25:37

Hi, my 5 yo sounds similar! We pick her up at 5.30 after a full day at childminder and school and she'll ask what we're doing next!

She isn't tired at bedtime but settles and sleeps 8.30pm to 7am. I think that's enough sleep tbh so I'm not worried about that.

Dd talks all the time, whatever she's doing, and yes at bedtime and wake up still chattering. It's hard to get a word it, literally, and even her friends ask her to stop talking.

With dd the hardest thing is getting her to stand still or sit still. She struggles to concentrate and this is a problem at school.

She's seeing a paediatrician. She is not considered hyperactive but is being assessed for ADD.

I think your dd sounds at the active end of normal but see your GP if worried.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 25-Apr-17 08:29:06

Things we say often to dd:

Please calm down!
Stay still.
Stop running round.
Please stop talking.
Listen!

Etc

If your dd is able to listen and concentrate and do ok at school I wouldn't be too worried. Dd is struggling which is why she's seeing a paediatrician.

MarzipanPiggy Tue 25-Apr-17 14:16:36

Thank you I do think there's something about being really clear about what is expected. Sometimes I wonder if even 'please calm down' is too abstract and I need to be more specific eg stop kicking the chair with your legs and don't talk while eating.

Xmasbaby sorry you are having similar struggles. How is ADD diagnosed? Excuse my ignorance on the subject. I will definitely mention all this when we see the paediatrician in June, even though that's about something else.

Bluewombler2k Sun 30-Apr-17 18:36:28

Hi OP, your daughter sounds like my ds(7), however, he was officially diagnosed with ADHD around 6 months ago, and to be honest - it didn't come as a shock. Please don't worry, I'm not insinuating that your DD has ADHD at all, but have a read up on things at some point in the next year or so just in case (and it might help you also if you see things which show she does NOT have ADHD, if that makes sense!).

Tbh, it's not the end of the world, the psychiatrist who deals with us is not in a rush to even suggest medication as he is very academic and to only think about that side of things as he gets older and could possibly become aggressive, I don't think that will happen but will take each year as it comes. Schools are very good these days with SEN, my son's teacher who is young and relatively inexperienced specifically asked the HT to go on a training course in best ways to help children with ADHD straight after DS's diagnosis.
I think in my waffly way I am trying to say please try not to worry, but if in a few years things progress, your DD will have your support and the schools and will still be the little girl you love. So far, DS goes to a session each week where they practice social skills and patience, etc and 'Golden Room' time every few weeks where he can chat to the Family Liaison Officer - he doesn't say much to her but I put that down to being male and knowing he is being pushed to talk about feelings!

He is still a nutter at home, talks incessantly, cannot sit still without either legs, arms or bottom waving in the air so "calm down", "try to sit still for 3 minutes", "concentrate on eating your dinner" are all my mantras but...I know the school are looking out for him and he is still the same kid he was before the diagnosis, all that has changed is that it has now been recognised and he has a network of support.

If it makes you feel any better, I thought you would never meet a more active, fidgety child...but then I had DD (1)...wish me luck!! X

Bluewombler2k Sun 30-Apr-17 18:52:42

As for the diagnosis for ADHD at least, DS was referred by the school and we first met the Dr about 6 months later, he asked me questions about his milestone developments, family health history, domestic set-up (his Dad and I not together and I remarried 3 yrs ago).

The next session he gave me a questionnaire for me and his teacher to fill out separately asking the same questions but in different ways for me and an educator, and we then had to mark out of 5, 0 being 'highly disagree" and 5 being "entirely agree" with regards to his physical, emotional and educational behaviour. These were done independently and I did not see his teacher's responses.

Anyhoo, they compare the answers and put them in an already recognised and medically accepted chart and if the responses to certain areas by me and teacher follow the same pattern then it is agreed that his behaviour is exactly the same both in and out of school and then the ADHD diagnosis was confirmed.

It was obviously not as simple as that from the Drs job and how he used the information but it was pretty painless and now I now DS is supported and it is recognised that he isn't just a 'naughty fidgety boy', he genuinely can't help it and thankfully is getting lots of support

MiaowTheCat Mon 01-May-17 20:13:57

Sounds like my just turned 5 year old as well. Trampoline is a godsend - when she's too manic I've often resorted to telling her to go away and come back when she's done 20 bounces on it and then 10 goes down the slide in the garden as well which does tend to reduce the Tigger factor to a more manageable roar.

To and from school she'll run ALLLLLL the way there while trying to chat to you non-stop from maximum distance. We've got that to tolerable levels by giving her target points to run to and wait at so at least she's under control and within distance.

MarzipanPiggy Tue 02-May-17 09:49:12

Thank you very much Bluewombler and Miaow.

It is very helpful to read about the diagnosis process. I hope your DS is getting the support he needs Blue.

As school gave not raised any issues to date I expect we should probably leave it for a bit. I do wonder how she will get on in year 1 because my understanding of her current reception class is that they get to move about freely and choose what interests them. This will be different in year 1 so let's see how that goes.

In the meantime a trampoline has been added to the list of projects. I suppose at least we don't need to worry about childhood obesity of anything like that as she's so active she is very skinny in spite of having an excellent appetite.

juneau Tue 02-May-17 10:07:18

But if I read to her she's doing role polies around me and bouncing on the bed.

DS2 was like this at 4 and while he isn't the quietest or calmest DC now (he'll be 6 next week), he IS better than he was. Some DC just do seem to be more hyper than others. Some get a diagnosis (DS2 is almost certainly dyslexic, for instance, which might explain his lack of focus), while other seem to grow out of it. It is certainly worth talking to the GP though and asking for a referral to a paediatrician. We did this when DS2 was about three. At that point there was nothing obvious going on, but I knew there was something different about him compared to DS1, who is a very calm DC.

Starting school helped, although not immediately. But after a year of school and a great teacher/TA who worked with him on listening, sitting still, etc, we could see some improvement, and now that's he's nearing the end of Year 1 those improvements have been built upon. He's still high energy. He still bounces out of bed and talks non-stop, but he now understands the need for quiet (sometimes!), and like your DD he can be quiet and focused if watching something like he's interested in.

I do try to raise his self-awareness by saying 'If you do X then people are going to think you're silly' or 'Please stop talking now - it's absolutely exhausting. Why don't you do X instead'. All DC need guidance on which behaviours are acceptable and I honestly think they need to be gently told when they're being annoying! Life teaches most people to behave in a civilised manner, but with small DC they really do need to have civilised behaviour explained to them so they understand what is acceptable and when. If you keep the message constant then in many cases it does sink in ... to a degree!

MarzipanPiggy Thu 04-May-17 08:22:23

Thank you Juneau. That sounds encouraging. DD's teacher is lovely and positive and obviously offers some support in terms of sitting at the front at carpet time. She gets house points for sitting quietly and for changing quickly (she can get quite distracted when changing for PE). Teacher says DD is very energetic but in a good way ie interested in things, independent learner etc. Am I right in thinking that as long as school aren't concerned, I shouldn't be concerned and/or there's little point seeking medical advice?

Hopefully this will all end well and she will calm down as she gets a bit older.

juneau Thu 04-May-17 13:19:45

Am I right in thinking that as long as school aren't concerned, I shouldn't be concerned and/or there's little point seeking medical advice?

I think if the school aren't concerned then that's good, because they don't appear to be seriously worried about her. However, you spend much more time with her than they do, you know her much better than they do and if YOU are concerned, for feel you would like more support, help or strategies to help her calm down then I think you should ask your GP to refer you to a paediatrician. Just going to see someone doesn't mean there is 'a problem', but getting support and intervening early in any issues there may be can be very beneficial in the long run. There is really nothing to be gained, particularly for your DD, but brushing your concerns under the rug. Quite simply, if you are worried, seek advice.

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