How we can assist the active child
Use creative techniques to keep your energized child entertained throughout the day.
December 3, 2013 - Author: Ann Arnold, Michigan State University Extension
All children have different activity levels, much in the same way every adult has different activity levels. We also have different temperaments of each individual in our household. The way to have a family move forward in a smooth manner is to look at each person in the family as an individual being and not comparing them to others in the household. Some of us are very active naturally and others are more laid back and move more slowly. Some need to have more notice when new things come up, for example, “I am going to the store, who wants to come?” Some may want to run out the door and jump in the car, while others may get upset because they are in the middle of something and want to go, but want to finish what they are doing first. For the child or adult that needs time for transition, Michigan State University Extension suggests trying to make sure they get a transition time warning. This will help them not become frustrated as often.
This holds the same concept with the child that is very active. We must give this child room and activities that will help them use their active temperament in a positive way. We need to set routine activities for all children including mealtimes, bath time and reading times. Everyone needs to know what is coming next and have it become predictable. Especially in the evening, have the child take a calming bath, or shower, and then have a calming down time to read before they go to bed.
When working with a very active child, take note if they have to move a lot or cannot stay with one activity for very long. Try to offer the child more choices and a variety of activities for them to play with. Make sure they have outside play every day, with a large area to run, play ball, climb or ride bikes. Have them sing and dance to music often. Go for walks with the family, friends and the family pet. Look at your child in a different light, if they have a more active temperament, than give them the tools they can use to burn off the energy in a positive and safe manner. Also work with your child to use calming down time tools. Reading or listening to soft music can help. Your local library has many books, puppets and music tapes to lend out. Have your child engage themselves in the stories.
All children need to put their senses to work so they can learn about their world. Some good activities using their different senses would be indoors play such as play dough or clay, finger paint, washing dishes or toys, or you could have them play with stickers or tape to create art work. You can ask for your child’s help with housework; this is a good way to have them feel part of the family and improve their self-esteem. Have the children play outside for even short periods of time (dressing appropriately) in the rain or snow! Playing dress up is also a way to help children expand their energy.
When we help children use their extra energy in a fun and appropriate way, it will always be a win, win experience.