A Guide to Calming an Excessively Hyperactive Child

If your preschooler isn’t sitting still, give this unusual tip a try.

Last year, Shia, then 4, began attending gymnastics and found it challenging to sit still during circle time. However, she would stand up and walk away as soon as the other kids could sit down for a few minutes. Worse still, she would search through my pocketbook while I was sitting in church and follow me around the seat.

Children are expected to remain still in school, storytime, and mealtime. If they don’t, we may assume they’re misbehaving, wonder if we’re doing anything wrong, or think they have a behavioral issue. 

The wiggliness of children varies widely from age 3 to 4, when they can concentrate for extended amounts of time. Preschoolers’ capacity to sit still varies greatly. 

A standard dose of time might range from 15 seconds to 15 minutes. Your restless child can be kept calmer by a few simple measures you can take.

Let Him Get His Groove On a Little.

When a youngster refuses to stay seated when instructed to do so, it may be because they are bored. Circle time may last a few minutes for a preschooler, but if the tale or song is fascinating, they may be able to sit for a more extended period.

It’s best to talk to the instructor about your child’s agitation if noticeable in the classroom. Allowing a youngster the opportunity to fidget with a “stress ball” in many contexts, even at school, can assist a child stay focused, even if it seems contradictory. 

You might let him suck on a straw, sit on an inflated chair cushion that jiggles just a little, or hold him in your lap and bounce up and down until he settles down.

Bring coloring pages and a few triangular crayons (which won’t roll off the table and cause your preschooler to rush after them) when you need to keep your preschooler sat but not necessarily paying attention (at a restaurant, for example).

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Numerous studies show that children who engage in regular physical activity can better focus on their studies. The neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, essential for attention, focus, impulse control, and learning, are primarily stimulated by outdoor play.

Since being outside has a calming effect on children’s moods, Minneapolis parent Sonal Gerten makes an effort to take her 3-year-old son Deven out whenever possible, even when it’s chilly.

At the very least, children should spend at least an hour a day playing outside. While being inactive did not affect preschoolers’ capacity to concentrate in class, a 30-minute bout of physical activity did. When possible, get your child moving right before they need to focus for a long — like walking to preschool with them if one is nearby or going to the playground before going to church. 

When the weather is too cold to spend time outside, go to an indoor garden or the mall to burn off some energy. Breaking up sitting time with spurts of motion like jumping or hopping might also help alleviate stress.

Don’t rush anything.

Consult your pediatrician if your kid is constantly fidgeting or endangering herself or others, such as darting into oncoming traffic. When a person’s attention span doesn’t seem to be getting longer, it’s time to take notice. The problem may stem from ADHD, a type of attention deficit hyperactivity disease. 

Your doctor may refer you to a speech pathologist or occupational therapist for a full assessment based on your symptoms.

The majority of the time, though, a person’s typical extra energy should be dealt with by the passage of time. Shia no longer runs around the gymnasium during circle time; instead, she kisses me and returns to her seat. She’s come a long way in such a short period!

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