How to calm your overactive toddler

If you have an overactive toddler who never sits still, try these strategies to slow him down a little.

Does your child struggle to sit still or stop talking – even during quiet time? Toddlers are often overactive because their brains and bodies are developing at such a rapid rate. They’re like little sponges, absorbing all there is to know and learn about the world around them. While this type of behaviour is fairly common and normal (most parents will admit to having an overactive toddler), it’s not to be confused with hyperactivity, which is often caused by a medical condition known as ADHD. In this case, your child will need to be tested.

ALSO SEE: Could my grade 1 child have ADHD? Here’s what to look out for

Steps to calm an overactive toddler 

However, if you feel that your child is too busy, there are a few things you can do to help him use up stored energy. According to the Nemours Foundation,  you should watch out for these signs and symptoms as they could indicate that your child is overscheduled with too many acitivites and need to slow down in order to process his day:

  • Feeling constantly tired, anxious, or depressed.
  • Complaining of headaches and stomachaches, which may be due to stress, missed meals, or lack of sleep.
  • Older kids might fall behind on their schoolwork, causing their grades to drop. Younger kids might not want to participate in group play or activities.

If you believe that your little one simply has excess energy, here are a few tips to help calm him down so that he’s well balanced and happy:

  • Try and keep your toddler busy with physical activities like playing ball games, dancing, or clambering up and down a jungle gym. This should deplete most of his energy and leave him calmer for mealtimes and nap times.
  • Cut down on junk food and sugary snacks. Rather give your toddler more protein-rich foods.

ALSO SEE: Ways to reduce your child’s sugar intake 

  • Carve time in his routine for some downtime when he can relax and read a book in a quiet spot, or do some arts and crafts.
  • Make time to exercise with your toddler every morning. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. You can kick a ball in the garden, or go for a walk or a short bike ride in the park.
  • Have routines in place for play time, nap time, quiet time, bath time and bed time. If your toddler knows that it’s lunch time and then nap time after play time, he’ll know what to expect and this will make him feel calmer.
  • Reduce screen time, especially before bed. The blue light emitted from the television and tablet or phone has been found to reduce melatonin production which can cause your child to be more alert, rather than drowsy and ready for bed.

ALSO SEE: Ways to help you set up a successful routine 

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