Growing up as a hyperactive kid is not easy. But being a parent to a hyperactive kid is definitely a whole other level of parenting problems. While every family deals with it in their own way, there is no harm in learning some new tricks and tips, and maybe switching some things out could be worth a try. Which is why we've assembled a list of 10 ways parent's aren't helping their hyperactive kids, and 10 things they can do instead.
From making sure they use up their energy, to figuring out how to make sure they don't get tired too early, parenting a hyperactive child comes with a bunch of its own struggles. It is important to keep in mind that some kids are just hyperactive because they don't use up all of their energy and they don't eat the right food, while others do have an actual medical condition that should be diagnosed by a doctor. Either way, there are still some little things parents should keep in mind and not do, and others they can totally encourage.
Here they are, the 10 do's and don'ts of being a parent to a hyperactive child.
20 Don't Let The Hyperactivity Take Over Your Lives
Having a hyperactive child isn't easy, but allowing the hyperactivity to become the focal point for the whole family should definitely not happen. Parents can't allow it to take over the family's life. Sure, acknowledging it and finding ways to deal with it is important, but parents need to make sure that their hyperactive child isn't defined by it.
The best way of doing this is shifting the focus on other things, such as personality traits, fun activities, and family trips.
When your child grows up it should remember their childhood by something else but their hyperactivity!
19 Don't Let Your Kid Get Away With Things
One thing parents need to understand is that hyperactivity shouldn't be an excuse for your child to keep getting away with things, because trust us, once the child realizes they can get away with things, they will use that.
So making sure that you still treat the child like they are normal, meaning that they need to know they are responsible for their behavior is important.
Of course this also depends on how hyperactive the child is, but in general, not letting them get away with absolutely everything is always a good start in making sure hyperactivity doesn't define them.
18 Don't Ignore It Hoping It Will Go Away
If your child is hyperactive - and you will definitely know if they are - you should under absolutely no circumstances pretend that it will be going away. Hyperactivity needs to be acknowledged no matter how small or big it is, because once every family member is aware of it, it is much easier to handle it. And sometimes making sure the child understands it as well can be useful, especially when it's an older kid. Either way, acknowledging and addressing the hyperactivity is an important part of raising your child, so do not make the mistake of ignoring it.
17 Don't Stress About The Small Stuff
Parents of hyperactive kids have it a lot harder, which is why they need to also work on themselves in order to live an easier and more stress-free life. The best way to begin is to draw a line between things that are worth stressing over and things that are not. So if your hyperactive child tends to do something trivial like spill their drink please do not freak out. Things like that happen to normal kids all the time, and just because it happens to yours slightly more often doesn't mean you need to stress about it. Knowing what to get upset about and what to accept is good not only for the child, but for you as well.
16 Don't Give Up Easily
Hyperactive kids can be very difficult to deal with sometimes because they get easily distracted and they love quitting things to go and do something else. Teaching them certain habits and a routine can be hard because of that, but it is important that if the parents think their child needs to do something, they do not give up at the first sight of their distraction.
Being persistent and trying different ways to get your kid there is a challenge parents of hyperactive children just need to accept.
Besides, the kid still needs to know that you are the authority, and they do need to listen to you.
15 Don't Punish Them For Behavior They're Unable To Control
Knowing when to punish and when not to punish a hyperactive kid isn't easy at all. A good rule of thumb is that if you feel slightly guilty about punishing your child for something that they have done, chances are you probably shouldn't. Of course, every hyperactive child is still different and every parent needs to figure out for themselves what is worth grounding them for. But keep in mind that a lot of times a certain kind of behavior your child exhibits isn't something that they can control, and they definitely shouldn't get in too much trouble for that.
14 Don't Let Them Get Too Tired
Hyperactive kids tend to be very active and then in return, at some point they turn extremely tired, grumpy and groggy. And then they are ten times harder to deal with for the rest of the day.
So unless it's about to be bedtime, try to keep an eye on how active they are, eventually, you'll get the hang of how much activity they can handle without reaching that threshold.
Other than that making sure your kid is exhausted by the end of their day is going to make their bedtime routine so much easier for both of you.
13 Don't Lash Out
We get it, sometimes it's all just too much, and very difficult to handle. But try to always keep in mind that the majority of times your child is behaving in a certain way because they can't control themselves, and they do not deserve to be yelled at because of that. Try to always keep your temper no matter how hard the situation is, and keep the lash outs to a minimum. This way the child will also learn that if you are lashing out on them then they must have screwed up big time, and they will remember that.
12 Don't Neglect Your Other Children
When you have more children, and only one of them is hyperactive, it can easily happen that that one gets the majority of attention. Being mindful of this and knowing that even though they are hyperactive and need you, the other children certainly don't deserve to be neglected. Balancing the attention that you give your children is hard enough s it is, and with one child being more active it's even harder. But as with everything, approach this very individually and try to find a balance that works best for your family. If your kids are old enough, talking to them openly about this is always a good idea.
11 Don't Immediately Opt For Meds
Sometimes life as a parent is hard enough as it is, that giving your hyperactive child medicine to calm them doesn't seem like a bad idea at all. But every parent should always try to see if there are other solutions, and leave the meds as the last option.
Sometimes kids that are hyperactive can be perfectly handled with a bit more of an active lifestyle, with a switch up of their routine or different food.
Of course, don't run away from meds if they are necessary and recommended, just keep in mind that you should explore other options first.
10 Encourage Hands-On Learning
There's this misconception that hyperactive kids are bad at learning, and well, sometimes they are, but most of the time it's the fact that the learning method isn't suitable for them. Hyperactive kids are not good at learning by reading the material, they are much better at learning by visual example and hands-on. So whenever possible try to help your child to learn in a way that is easier for them.
There is no stress in also pointing this out to the child's teacher, they can keep that in mind and when appropriate also help your child understand something better!
9 Reward Them For Good Behavior
Remember. as with any kid out there, but especially hyperactive kids, rewarding them for good behavior and things they've done well is always important. Don't get us wrong when we say reward, we don't necessarily mean give them a gift. Sometimes just positive and encouraging words are enough. Letting them know you're grateful for whatever they have done can visibly change their future behavior towards a better one. At the end of the day, we all love getting praised, and we all want more of it. So chances are your kid will remember your reaction and do that same thing again.
8 Consider A Physical Activity
A very common reason why kids can be hyperactive is that they don't get enough physical activity in their daily routines. So consider enrolling your child in a sports club they like, or maybe just go out and do more active things with them: take long walks in the forest, go cycling with them or just take them to the playground a bit more often and for longer. Hyperactive kids need to get all that energy out somewhere, and most of the time an hour or two per day of slightly more intense physical fun will do wonders for them!
7 Channel Their Energy
As already mentioned, hyperactive kids have plenty of energy, and one thing that parents can do about that is find a way to channel that energy. Figure out what activity your child enjoys and try to make that one a big part of their life. It doesn't necessarily have to be a physical activity, it can be something else as well, like painting and drawing, singing or playing an instrument. Yes, the first thing our minds go to when someone mentions an activity for hyperactive kids is sports, but some hyperactive kids also enjoy other things as well, and they can definitely channel their energy towards those.
6 Watch What They Eat
Another thing parents shouldn't neglect for any child, but especially hyperactive kids, is their nutrition. What your child eats is always important, and should never be neglected. Food is known to affect not only our health but also our mood. Which is why you should try to make sure your hyperactive child stays away as much as possible from candy and other unnaturally sweet food, processed foods and fast food. These are bad for anyone, really, because they can raise our energy levels by spiking our blood sugar in a very unnatural way. Try to make your child stick to fruit, veggies, and fiber-rich foods.
5 Minimize Distractions
Hyperactive children often get very easily distracted by things, which can definitely result in them taking forever to fulfill certain tasks - especially their homework. So making sure that they are in a comfortable environment with as little distractions as possible is always a good idea. This means that if they are doing their homework the TV or computer shouldn't be on, and they should not be close to any windows or doors. Figuring out what spot in your home works best for your child might take a while, but once they do find it, it will be so worth it.
4 Help Them Relax
Teach your hyperactive child how to relax and unwind. There are plenty of ways kids like to relax and chill, so make sure you help your child find at least one. Some kids love bubble baths, others love writing in their diary while some would rather cuddle with the family pet. Whatever it is that relaxes and calms your child down, figure it out together with them, and then make sure it is their go-to when they're stressed and extremely hyperactive. Every child has something calm they enjoy to do, and it is only a matter of fact of you figuring out what that is.
3 Allow Them To Move
Okay, so your kid is hyperactive, you need to come to terms with that. This means do not be one of those parents who make their child sit still in a chair at home doing nothing just because they can. Allow your child to move, they need it. So if they want to run around the house and dance to music, be a cool parent and do it with them. The only thing you always have to take into account is their safety, so make sure they have no obstacles in their way, but other than that, let them sing and dance!
2 Make Them Help Around The House
A great way you can make their hyperactivity benefit everyone is to teach them to help you around the house. So instead of them playing video games or jumping up and down on the couch, engage them in whatever chores you're doing. From cooking to vacuuming to pretty much any other age-appropriate and safe household activity - nothing is off limits. Who knows, maybe they find a house chore they really enjoy doing and next thing you know is you never have to do it again. Either way, this should be a win-win because they will be slightly less hyper after it.
1 Educate Yourself And Consult A Doctor
Lastly, do your own research. As we mentioned a million times, every kid out there is different, and if your child is doing something specific, try to learn more about it. Explore the information offered on the internet, go check your local library for relevant books and articles or consult a doctor. If the hyperactivity is something you don't feel comfortable dealing with on your own, it is definitely always a good idea to go see a professional. They can give the kind of intel no article on the internet will, even though there's no doubt those can be helpful as well.