Raising A High Energy Toddler
This isn’t a joke. When my first kid was a toddler, I combed through as many parenting book indexes as I could to locate tips on how to deal with a hyperactive child. Active children keep a mother very busy, and boy was that challenging!
As a first-time mother, I had previously read the standard child-discipline recommendations. When it came to obeying directions and sleeping at night, the positive discipline and positive parenting (like inductive discipline)techniques worked wonders.
He listened (pretty well), had really good intentions, appeared to have a good grasp of other children’s differences, and wanted to succeed.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Want to learn how to get your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or losing control?
–>check out this free parenting class<–
High Energy Toddlers
Boys, I’d heard, had a lot of energy. That I accepted, but this was far more than I had imagined was conceivable. He used to run around the house as quickly as he could when he was two or three years old. My second-born son was no better. By the way here are my best tips on how to make a 2-year old listen.
I had no way of knowing what behaviour was or that people’s brains could be wired differently since I didn’t grasp what was going on inside my house.
It’s obvious why toddlers enjoy racing around: it feels nice. “As adults, we forget what it’s like to learn something new,” Dr. Pruett adds. “Would you pass up an opportunity to check out your planet if it was just starting to open up?” This period of childhood, on the other hand, may not be as appealing to you. Toddlers, on the other hand, aren’t intentionally attempting to make your life miserable. The 2-year-old who run aways to the park to pursue a bird isn’t deliberately disobeying you.
While it’s vital to encourage your toddler’s curiosity and allow him space to explore, it’s also crucial to educate him that he needs to calm down now and then.
- Here’s an easy test to see whether your child has a lot of energy:
- When you’re out and about, does it feel like your child has to touch everything?
- Is your child always chatting or asking 1,000 questions each day?
- Is it difficult for your child to sit still for long periods of time?
- Would you say your child is inquisitive, daring, or fearless?
- Do you ever get annoyed with your childrens excessive energy?
- Are you concerned that your child is becoming too hyperactive?
- Do you ever wonder if your child has ADHD or ADD?
- Have you checked up the signs and symptoms of ADHD and seen that your child fits some, if not all, of the descriptions?
There are two things you should know about high-energy children:
- ADHD isn’t present in every child with a lot of energy.
- With a positive approach to parenting and discipline, there are numerous methods to help high-energy children.
So, what’s the best approach to deal with over-wounded, enthusiastic, and irritating behaviours in a good way?
It’s not simple to raise a child with a high-energy temperament, especially if the parent has the opposite temperament.
My child is a high-energy individual. To be honest, I like his vigour. His enthusiasm of life and energy are admirable. Others may mistakenly interpret your excitement and strong energy level as irritation. Yes, I get frustrated when all that excess energy manifests itself in “in your face, over-wounded behaviours.”
When high-energy childrens are embraced and given good supervision, they may grow and thrive.
How To Help You High Energy Toddler Calm Down
Set Clear Limits
Take the time to make eye contact with your child while setting limitations to assist them to focus on your request.
It is beneficial for your child to be able to follow your expectations if you take the time to slow down and explain properly.
You Can Try This Limit Setting Action Plan
Make sure you’re close enough to your child for them to hear you.
Say exactly what you mean and exactly what you mean.
To avoid misunderstandings, encourage your kid to repeat back to you what they have learned.
Stay quiet: Because high-energy kids are sensitive, shouting at them to settle down will only make things worse.
Stay close by or ask your child to check in with you when they’re finished to help them achieve your expectations.
Teach Calm Down Skills (Self- Regulation)
A glitter jar, rice bottle, wheel of choice, or breathing exercise can all be used.
Practice calming skills with your child until he or she can do it on their own.
While your child is ready to learn, not when they are spinning out or melting down, you should teach them calming practices.
It is definitely worth the time and effort to teach soothing techniques to your child because these are abilities that they will be able to utilize as they develop.
Every child thrives on praise and the idea that they have accomplished something worthwhile.
Focus on your childrens accomplishments and encourage them further by offering positive observations.
“I saw you arranged the table; thank you for your assistance!”
“I see you remember to put your shoes away, which I much appreciate.”
“I notice your shoes are still at the door; I’m sure you know where they go, right?” Come back and inform me when you’ve finished putting them away. Thanks!”
Redirect His Spirit
It might be hard to keep up with a high-energy child. However, restraining him isn’t the solution. Find constructive methods to redirect his spirit instead, and get rid of anything that could agitate him even more. Here are six strategies to consider.
- Introduce her to a sport. Joining a peewee soccer league or starting a gymnastics, dancing, karate, or swimming class at this age is a fantastic idea. Any of these exercises can help your childrens coordination and concentration. Allow her to pick her own programme, but make sure it isn’t excessively structured: Preschool programmes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), should include at least 30 minutes of free play and no more than 20 minutes of teaching.
- Purchase new equipment. Sure, your child enjoyed riding his tricycle when he was three, but he may have outgrown it now. Consider purchasing a two-wheeler with training wheels for him. Allow him to play with a hula hoop, a flying disc, a batting tee, a junior tennis racquet, a hoppity horse, and various-sized balls.
- Play with your friends. Bring roller skates or a kite for her to fly the next time you go to the park. At home, use a brush and a pail of water to pretend to “paint” the side of your house, or blow bubbles for your child to pursue. When the weather isn’t cooperating and you’re stuck (fixed mindset) indoors, play a game that will get her moving.
- Turn off the television. Do you think your high-energy child can be calmed by watching television? Quite the contrary is true. Action-adventure shows and video games might overstimulate your preschooler, making it more difficult for him to sit still. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting total screen time to 45 minutes per day, including TV, video games, and internet usage, and avoiding all three before bedtime.
- Keep an eye on her eating habits. Although sugar does not cause hyperactivity on its own, studies show that sweets and sweetened beveangers consumed on an empty stomach can make a kid jumpy. Caffeine, a stimulant found in colas and other drinks, iced tea, and chocolate should all be avoided. Your child already has enough natural energy and does not require more energy from chemicals.
- Recognize and reward positive behaviour. “At this age, setting limits is really essential,” says Rebecca Unger, M.D., an attending physician at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital. Make a bargain with your child if he tends to go wild at the supermarket: if he helps you discover products on your shopping list, you’ll take him to the playground afterward. And always remember to stick to the rules.
Connect on a Daily Basis
Hug, read together and ask your child to choose a (distraction-free) activity to engage with you for at least 10-15 minutes each day.
This extra attention and time might help your child feel better and behave better.
The more pleasant connections your child experiences, the healthier and more developed her brain will be.
The Brain Of A Child Is Very Active
The brain functions best when it is integrated, which implies that all of its parts are operating in harmony. To live a meaningful, creative, balanced, and satisfying life, children must employ both their right emotional brain and their left analytical brain.
We may initially assist our children in doing so by linking our right brain state to their own right brain state. Then, once they’ve calmed down, it’s time to use logic and reasonable reasoning to make sense of their actions.
When children have access to their prefrontal cortex, they are able to think clearly, make smart judgments, comprehend the repercussions of their decisions, be creative, and so on. It may get a bit crazy when they behave out of their downstairs head.
When children are in a reactive state, such as being angry, unhappy, irritated, or out of control, a baby gate at the foot of the stairs is slammed shut, blocking access to the upstairs brain. As parents, we must connect with our children and encourage them to calm down in order to open the baby gate.
When I had a high-energy toddler, all I had to do was go down on his level, connect with him, name what was going on, and reconnect him to his upstairs brain so he could act like a normal human again.
Behaviour Is Communication
Communication is behaviour. A child is always communicating with you, regardless of how he or she acts.
Every undesirable behaviour is generally the result of an unfulfilled need.
There was a reason my son was sprinting full speed into the wall, even though he wasn’t misbehaving or making terrible decisions.
On the surface, a childrens behaviour is like the tip of an iceberg sticking out of the sea. It’s what’s going on under the surface that reveals where the behaviour is coming from.
It was a sensory requirement for my high-energy child. I’m still learning about the proprioceptive system and sensory output vs. input, but I do know that certain children have difficulty responding to information received through their senses.
He was driven by a need for activity and physical touch. It’s referred to as sensory seeking. Here are some warning signals to keep an eye out for:
- It has an impact on everything!
- Is a physically strong player that loves to play hard (although the intent may not be to hurt)
- Is clumsy or prone to tripping?
- Has a strong pain tolerance
- He or she squirms and fidgets a lot and never seems to stop moving!
- That’s pretty much how my son was as a toddler.
The Difference Between Neurotypical and Neurodiverse Children
Every child was distinctive and unique to me. I mean, in 5th, 6th, and 7th grade, I had a whole unit on it! I had no notion, however, that there was such a thing as asynchronous development or neurodiversity.
The neurotypical brain grows at a certain rate when compared to other brains of the same age. All of the milestones and brain connections are on the same page. Then there’s the neurodiverse brain, which could be ahead in some areas but behind in others, causing intellectual, physical, and emotional development to be uneven. This is a characteristic shared by brilliant childrens. The higher the IQ, the more these areas of growth are likely to be out of sync.
Connect Then Correct
The concept is simple: connect with your child before correcting him or her.
Extensive study reveals that we can’t have a good impact on children unless we establish a relationship with them. It’s all in your head (and heart). Sometimes it’s necessary to put the misbehaviour aside and focus on the relationship’s healing.
Connection fosters feelings of security and openness. Punishment, lecture, nagging, scolding, accusing, or humiliating elicit fight, flight, or freeze responses.
“I love you, and the answer is no,” is one of my favourite examples of “connection before correction.” This storey also exemplifies the Positive Discipline notion of being both kind and firm.
It is a mistake to believe that giving children anything they desire will make them happy. Creating a relationship through rescuing, mending, or over-protecting is not a smart idea. When both the kid and the adult experience a sense of belonging and significance, effective relationships are formed.
- Spend quality time with your children. What could strengthen your bond with your child more than knowing you like spending time with him or her?
- Listen. Pay attention. Stop what you’re doing and offer your child your undivided attention.
- Recognize and validate your childrens emotions. Don’t we all feel more connected when we’re heard?
- When it’s acceptable, express your emotions and opinions. Keep in mind that childrens will listen to you AFTER they have felt heard. When you politely reveal something about yourself with your children, they sense a connection. Respectfully, this implies that there will be no tales of trudging kilometres in the snow.
- After a period of reflection, focus on solutions WITH the childrens. There’s that word “with” again, since it’s a golden link between people.
- Instead of imposing punishment (fear conditioning)s on children, use inquiry questions to let them examine the repercussions of their actions. Sincere inquiries open both the heart and the rational intellect, resulting in a balanced relationship.
- Hugs. There are moments when nothing but a hug would suffice.
Children are more amenable to polite correction after they have made the connection.
It’s critical to realize that “correction” in the Positive Discipline sense is not the same as a traditional correction. The most significant distinction is that traditional correction generally entails punishment (fear conditioning) (punitive time-out, grounding, and taking away privileges being the most common). To put it another way, traditional correction is adults doing something TO children. When feasible, children are respectfully included in positive discipline correction, and solutions are found WITH them.
Why Caring For Yourself Matters
When dealing with a high-energy toddler, you need to make sure you take care of yourself.
Parenting is a demanding job. It’s a never-ending task with great expectations.
Breaks are especially important if you and your child have opposing personality and energy types. It is not selfish to take time to care for yourself and relax; it is vital. Find methods to recharge your batteries so you can respond to your high-energy child in a kind and positive manner.
Self-care doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as a trip to the spa. Instead, squeeze in a workout, spend time with friends, read the Bible and pray, or, hell, even take a shower and truly blow dry your hair! Some of these were incredibly difficult to accomplish with a hyperactive child running around screaming, but they are critical.
Your Child’s Energy Is Not About You
Everyone has their own distinct personality and fashion sense. Some people are born with a high level of energy and enthusiasm. Others are more laid-back and reserved.
Accept your child for who they are; just accepting them for who they are can help you realize that their actions are frequently just an expression of who they are and how they approach the world, rather than something done to irritate you.
What to Do If Your Toddler Is High Energy
Here’s a quick rundown of what I could have done differently and what I ultimately changed as my son grew older. Knowledge is a powerful tool!
- Connect with your child on his or her level (or below eye contact if they’re not too low to the ground! ), name it to tame it.
- Provide avenues for your energetic child to let out his or her wiggles! Don’t put a stop to the movement! Use sensory toys, go outside and play, run and jump, sleep with a weighted blanket, and practise joint compressions at night.
- Reframe your expectations of how your child should behave. Examine his or her brain wiring, hobbies, and developmental milestones in comparison to your child alone, not with other children.
- Connect before you correct
Do you have a toddler on your hands and don’t know what to do with all of his or her energy? Or is your child still bouncing off the walls, despite the fact that you are past that stage? I hope you find these suggestions useful.
More Discipline Tips
- How To Teach Lessons Through Discipline Instead Of Shame
- Mistakes You May Be Making When Responding To Tantrums
- 5 Powerful Responses For Backtalk
- How You May Accidentally Be Raising Ungrateful Children (And how To Fix That)
- What Is Positive Discipline: 6 Simple Techniques To Use At Home
- Setting Consequences For Kids Who Do Not Care About Consequences
- Is Positive Parenting Solutions Parenting Course Worth It? (Yes…But Why?)
- Natural Consequences You Should Allow Your Children To Experience
- 8 Easy Ways To Battle The “I Can’t Do It” Attitude
- Tips For Parenting An Angry Child
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)