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ADD & ADHD Center

How to Calm a Hyperactive Child

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How to Calm a Hyperactive Child
Child sliding down bounce castle. Photo Credit: BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images

A hyperactive child can wear on your patience and your nerves, causing you to snap or begin nagging. Children can sense negative energy and may act out more when it is around. Just one hyperactive child in a group of children can draw the focus away from the task at hand, and cause all of the children to feel antsy and out of control. Treating your hyperactive child as an individual can help you ease the frustration of dealing with the high-spirited behavior. Look for engaging yet calming activities to bring the focus back enough to calm him down.

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Step 1

Offer frequent breaks when working on a project or other activity in which your hyperactive child needs to focus for long periods, recommends. Allow her to go for a walk to get a drink, stand up and stretch or take two or three minutes to wiggle and laugh. While it may seem disruptive, spending a two-minute break to refocus may be more efficient than battling with a hyperactive child for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Practice deep breathing exercises to help your hyperactive child calm himself when feeling restless. Try having him breathe in for three counts and breathe out for five counts, then switch to breathing in for five counts and out for three. Directing his attention to something calming may be enough for him to settle down and focus.

Step 3

Create a boredom-busting box filled with items to engage your hyperactive child. When you're looking for a few minutes in the afternoon to take care of household affairs, pull out the box filled with coloring paper, crayons, safety scissors, glue and old magazines for your child to use while you are detained. Hyperactive children often simply need a creative outlet in which to funnel their excess energy, the website Mental Health Matters says.

Step 4

Go outside for a few minutes, Laura Ramirez, author of "Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting," suggests on the Family Matters Parenting website. The fresh air and open space can help a restless child release energy in preparation for more concentration or sitting still. Spread out a blanket on the grass or let your child kick a ball around while he uses up some of his energy and you relax.

Step 5

Initiate and maintain firm boundaries for your hyperactive child. Let her know what is expected of her and remind her of the expectations when she starts to act out of control. Hyperactive children may not even fully recognize when their behavior is too high-spirited, so be gentle and issue a warning. It may be enough to calm the child for a while.

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