When my first child was a toddler, I combed through as many parenting books and blogs as I could to find tips on how to deal with high energy kids. 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 techniques worked wonders for us, though were never actually recommended by family and friends.
My high energy level son listened (pretty well), had really good intentions, appeared to have a good grasp of other children’s differences, and wanted to succeed in all the things he tried.
Here are the things I learned on high energy toddlers (now that I’ve had 3) and how to calm them down and reduce those power struggles with them too.
How To Help You High Energy Toddler Calm Down
Take a break together and breathe
Toddlers need a lot of down time, especially after a full day at school, but also in the evening before bed. For high energy toddlers, this might mean needing a break for half an hour every evening.
If you are in a household where one person stays with the child and another goes out to a job, or your child is just naturally very active, it’s a good idea to take a break to sit with them and calm down together. In the evening, you might play a game of pretend in a quiet spot, or read a book together.
Alternatively, you might sit quietly in a comfortable spot (maybe with a cup of tea for two) and just be together. The key is to sit quietly and breathe.
If you need breathing exercise ideas, here are some of our favorites.
Start with a daily routine
Having a daily routine is a good way to help your toddler feel safe with the day and know what is coming up next.
It also helps you stay in control of your day and be more efficient as a parent. Having a daily routine with a high energy toddler means you can start with the things that need to be done without interruption.
Getting the important things done in the morning will save you time and stress later in the day when your toddler is fidgety and has a lot of energy to burn (even if they don’t look it).
Use visuals and have your child ask for what they want
Toddlers like to feel in control, so they will naturally push back when they don’t like the rules and feel they don’t have input in their day.
Having visual cues and your child asking you what they want to do next can help make your toddler feel more in control of their day. This will help them calm down and have less resistance when coming up with a visual cue to ask for something.
Visual cues can be a picture on the wall, a sticker chart, a large calendar, small visual books, or having the current day’s schedule written on a white board or magnetic board.
These can be used for everything from when meals are served, to what activities will be happening on any given day, and bedtime.
Have short, simple activities at the ready in your home
What activities do you want your toddler to be doing? Building with legos, drawing, and reading are some of the basics that are great for toddlers. If your child is like mine, you will also have a high-energy child who loves to move and dance.
Having something they can do (that is closed off to damage) that they can jump around in, move wildly in, and use their energy on will help them calm down a lot. For example, having a small trampoline in the backyard, and a small ball pit in the living room (with soft balls) will help your toddler be calm and happy at the same time.
Having activities like these ready to go will help your toddler have something to do when they are wound up and ready to move.
Utilize physical exercise as much as possible outside of the house
This might mean going for walks to the playground, going outside to play in a safe space, or meeting up with friends and taking your child along to play. It can also mean finding a local play-group or activity that your child likes to go to.
High energy toddlers are going to get restless, and having other kids to play with at a nearby play-group will help your toddler calm down. There are tons of different toddler enrichment groups around, so you will find something your child will enjoy.
Taking your toddler out and about in their community is a great way to get them to calm down without having to be inside all the time.
Teach your child self-care skills
As much as possible, you will want to encourage your toddler to take care of themselves.
This can help with self-calming, knowing the times of day when they have to calm down, and with teaching them time-management skills.
Some ideas you can do when your toddler is starting to calm down would be to have them wash their hands, brush their teeth, put their shoes on, or buckle their seatbelt.
These are small things they can do themselves that will help them use up their energy and stay calm. They also give your child a sense of accomplishment and control over their day.
Make physical activity a priority for everyone in the house
Have you ever noticed toddlers like to walk everywhere? My first child would walk across the living room, down the hallway, and all the way to the kitchen and back, hundreds of times a day!
Having active toddlers means they are burning off energy. To help your child calm down, it might mean you need to walk with them or find other ways to use up their energy.
Active toddlers tend to like being outside so find ways to get your child moving in the fresh air and away from the television and tablet. It can also mean finding things like a jump rope, hula hoop, or a ball and playing with your child.
High energy toddlers need activity and movement to calm down. These are very basic toddler needs, yet they don’t always get them.
Your high energy toddler needs a ton of attention and physical activity. They may even seem like they are always on the go!
This is because toddlers are in the process of developing their fine motor skills, language skills, and social skills.
That being said, having a very high energy toddler can be incredibly challenging. It can be hard to calm them down and find ways to channel their energy.
If you find you are struggling with your high energy toddler, try implementing some of the tips and techniques mentioned in this article. You might be surprised by the results!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my toddler have so much energy?
It’s possible that your youngster is bored or that he or she needs more time to play outside or be engaged in a higher activity level overall. Investigate when and why your child appears to be overly energetic, then devise a strategy for making a good adjustment.
How can I help my toddler with high energy?
Don’t put too much emphasis on your high energy toddler. Rather, recognise your child’s emotions (“I know you feel angry that we have to end a playdate”). Then relocate her to a different area or shift her focus to something else.
What does it mean when your toddler is very active?
Because they aren’t getting enough sleep, some toddlers become hyperactive. They may also be hyperactive when their senses are overstimulated.