One of the most challenging phases of parenting is dealing with toddlers. And, what if the toddler is hyperactive? Then, it becomes a bigger challenge. Here’s how to face it.
By Shreya Shah
Every toddler is a bundle of energy, flitting around the house, hopping from one activity to another. Toddlers just don’t know when to stop and rest. Although it is difficult to tell if a particular toddler is hyperactive, as most of them are very active, there are some things that you can do to calm your child down.
A lax home environment with too much noise and activity can make it hard for a hyperactive toddler to relax. A toddler needs clear directions on what he should do and when. So, try to keep the atmosphere at home as calm and quiet as possible, and establish rules about what to do and when to do. Set a time for your toddler to wake up, brush his teeth, have breakfast and so on.
Other than just talking, reading out loud is one of the most important things you can do to help your child build her vocabulary, stimulate her imagination, and improve her language skills.
Toddlers find it difficult to understand long and complex instructions. So, break down your instructions, or the task you want your child to do, into smaller parts. Insist on having eye contact when you are talking to your child. Once you have finished speaking, ask your toddler to repeat what you just told him.
Try to come up with activities that will help your toddler channelise her energy productively. Choose an activity that requires her to work hard. Some such activities are dancing to music, stomping the feet and walking around like an elephant, or pushing a basket full of clothes or books. Doing all these activities will help her release her pent-up energy.
Water can have a soothing effect, so give your child a bath in warm water. Let him sit in the tub and soak in the water while he plays with his favourite toy or runs his hand through the water.
If your toddler gets bored of what she is doing and becomes destructive or aggressive, give her a break. Take her to a cosy corner, where she can quietly flip through books or just make herself comfortable among cushions.
You can keep your toddler from becoming hyperactive by encouraging good sleep habits. Adhere to a consistent routine and be sensitive to your child’s need for rest. Most children become restless and irritated due to lack of proper sleep.
Children need love, emotional support and care to feel secure. There is evidence to prove that giving a child love, affection and attention during the first five years of life has a direct and measurable impact on his physical, mental and emotional growth.
In a world increasingly becoming dependent on medications, most parents quite eagerly seek medications to cope with their child’s activity levels. Although certain medications can bring about chemical changes in the child’s brain and calm her down, they also have side effects. Consult your doctor for medications only after your attempts to modify your toddler’s behaviour has failed.
Learn as much as you can about how to handle a hyperactive child. Not only will this increase your coping skills and confidence, but will also prevent you from being pushed to seek treatment or label your energetic toddler as hyperactive or suffering from ADHD. Ask a lot of questions to clarify your doubts.
Dealing with a hyperactive child is a challenge that can be successfully overcome by following these tips and preparing yourself. Reach out to friends or your doctor for more advice on how to bring about positive changes in your toddler’s behaviour and life.
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