How to Channel Your Overactive Child’s Energy

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We all wish that sometimes our kids would sit down, be quiet, and relax. But most of the time, they are away in their own world thinking of fairies and pirates wondering who is going to win the epic battle. 

When they start to fidget at the table or not relax before bedtime, you just want to give up. But don’t worry. There are ways to channel your overactive child’s energy. 

I had the same issue with my son. I used a few techniques to channel his extra energy, and it worked a treat, so I’m here to share these helpful tips.

How to channel your overactive child’s energy: 

  • Try different activities to keep them active 
  • Finding a repetitive activity to do before important events 
  • Help them relax 
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Music to calm the mind 

How Do I Know If My Child Is Overactive?

That’s the big question. Is your child overactive, or are they just trying to play and you are getting stressed out? If your little one has a lot of free play yet still has bundles of energy all the time, then they are probably a very energetic child. 

Every child has energy and the drive to keep moving. Some master being able to sit down and relax a lot faster than others. If your child is able to play baseball in the back garden for 20 minutes and then come inside and quietly read a book, they are not overactive. They know when to stop their energy and relax quietly. 

Some children can’t keep still at all. It’s not their fault. They may be running around the house or continuously talking or fidgeting all the time. Don’t scold them too harshly for it, sitting still doesn’t come naturally to kids, especially preschoolers.

Some signs that your little one may be overactive include: 

  • Not listening to the teacher in class
  • Stands up and walks around when someone is talking to them 
  • Moves fast and bumps into things 
  • Plays too roughly 
  • Runs and shouts when playing inside and outside. 
  • Fidgets a lot 
kids playing soccer

Why Is My Child So Hyperactive? 

There are many reasons why your child could be hyperactive, and it usually resides in the pent up energy that they have stored in their bodies. They have a constant need to move around, and it’s difficult for them to slow down and sit. 

Never try and blame yourself for your child’s hyperactivity. They are not able to control it, and even the most disciplined child will be no match for their energy.

It takes time for your child to develop skills to have their own behavior in check. This could be at four years of age for one child while for another, it could be at age six. Don’t push them too much if they are not progressing as quickly as you thought they would. These things take time. 

One of the main causes of an overactive child is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD doesn’t go away as a child gets older, but their overactive energy becomes less extreme. This usually happens when your child is a teenager.  

Other reasons for your child’s overactive energy could be: 

  • Thyroid issues 
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Anxiety 
  • Mental stress 

How to Channel an Overactive Child’s Energy 

It may feel easier to let them run around the house until they tire themselves out, but that’s not always the best way to let them release their energy. If you’re trying to eat dinner and let them go crazy, the next day, they may run off at mealtime because you let them the day before. So what is a good way? 

How to channel your overactive child’s energy: 

  • Physical activities to keep them active 
  • Finding a repetitive activity to do before important events 
  • Make them relax 
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Music to calm the mind 

Activities to Keep Them Active  

Finding something that your child loves yet will help them release some pent up energy is every parent’s dream. Have them play lots of outdoor sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, and tennis. This will have them moving constantly! 

It will also help them work on exercising those larger muscle groups and to learn about sportsmanship and sharing. This worked well when my older one would constantly argue with his sister. I took him to soccer training, and within three weeks, he was learning how to share and was much calmer with the baby. 

There have been studies that prove physical activity reduces the symptoms of hyperactivity. Other activities that help channel your overactive child’s energy include: 

  • Swimming 
  • Karate 
  • Volleyball 
  • Running 
  • Rock climbing
  • Croquet

Repetitive Activity to Do Before Important Events  

Having something to do with your child five to 10 minutes before important situations—like eating dinner or going to school—will help them to relax and hopefully to sit down for longer. 

This could be anything from playing a brain training game with your little one to doing some coloring. Having this stimulates their mind and channels their overactive energy into the game or activity. When it comes to dinner, they will be able to sit still as they have relaxed beforehand. 

If you find a quiet activity that they like, don’t change it. Children’s behavior changes if their routine changes. If you have found one that’s able to get them to settle, keep it.

Help Them Relax 

Take away or minimize the use of anything that can distract your child when they are trying to focus on something else. If they’re trying to do homework or any other activity and the TV is on in the background, they won’t be able to pay attention. 

Switch off or remove the distraction, or take them outside to an area in the yard where they can work peacefully without distractions. If your child gets distracted outside, set up a quiet space in your home where there are no distractions. 

Sleep and Diet 

Without a healthy diet and sufficient sleep, your child will be irritable, unable to focus, and hyper. Ensure you set a routine for bedtime and they get plenty of quality sleep, which should be more than 9 hours. Also try to feed your kiddo a balanced diet as much as possible and ensure they have a good breakfast to set them up for the day.

Behavioral Therapy 

Reward your little love for the good things they’ve been doing—whether that be completing their homework or sitting through a whole dinner without getting up and interrupting people. 

Make a schedule for them to clearly see so they are able to stick to their daily routine and understand what’s coming next. This establishes what you expect of them, and then when they complete the task, they can tick it off themselves and feel accomplished. 

The best way is to channel your overactive child’s energy on something different that you can get them focused on. This could be small tasks like setting the table or completing their homework. 

Don’t put them in front of a phone or a TV. These devices channel hardly any energy and distract your little ones massively. If you’re worried about your child’s overactivity, you could ask your pediatrician about professional behavioral therapy. 

Music to Calm the Mind 

Music is everyone’s best medicine. There are so many different styles out there, and it’s very easy to connect to it. Try playing calming music when eating dinner or trying to do something productive with your child. It will relax them and make it easier for them to concentrate on the tasks at hand. 

If they really get into music, maybe consider letting them become part of a band or choir. Let them learn an instrument and go from there. Not only will this require your kid to concentrate, but it will also bring them together with their peers. Just don’t go for drums

Be Patient

At the end of the day, not every method will work to channel your overactive child’s energy. It will take time and perseverance from you to keep calm and help them through it.

Some days it may feel like your progressing in leaps and bounds, while others may feel like you’re back to square one. Never give up. They will get there one day; it just takes a little time.

Howard is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice. When he isn't spending time with his wife, Kristin, or his two children, he can often be found running around on the tennis court.