Twelve Helpful Hints to Handling Your Active Child

  1. Trust your instincts. Everyone from grocery store clerks to grandparents will have opinions on how to parent your active child. You know your child best.
  2. Make sure your child is safe, but don’t try to control his/her energy. You will have to learn to go with the flow.
  3. When your child is young, look for unstructured play situations.
  4. Give your child words to express his/her feelings- angry, sad, and frustrated- so that he/she has non-physical ways of showing his/her emotions.
  5. Active children can unintentionally overwhelm their peers with their energy, so try to find equally active playmates for your child. Some parents note that their active kids often relate better to older companions.
  6. Outdoor play is a priority, but if a snowstorm keeps you housebound, turn up the stereo and rock ‘n’ roll.
  7. When choosing a babysitter, opt for a teenager who likes being on the go.
  8. Avoid situations an active child may not be able to cope with, such as restaurants and long religious services.
  9. If your little one just won’t nap, build in quiet times, even if it’s just a few minutes at a time. Psychologist Linda Budd suggests gauging your child’s energy level on a scale of one to ten and providing opportunities that let her move up and down on that scale.
  10. Look at the environment through your child’s eyes. One parent recommends keeping the bedroom visually “unstimulating”; another breastfed her active baby in a darkened room and put a baseball cap over his eyes.
  11. Once they reach school age, kids will face new demands to sit still. Work with the teacher to help set realistic goals. Watch for signs of a temperamental “match” with the teacher: Some prefer a quiet, orderly classroom while others are more easygoing about boisterous behaviour.
  12. Find activities that really pique your child’s interest- kids can usually focus better when something turns them on.
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