5 ways to calm your hyper kid

Learn how to quiet down your overactive kid without resorting to yelling at them.

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Kids are active by nature ―they like to run and jump around, so asking them to sit down quietly for more than a few minutes is like asking them to stop breathing. Quite likely, this isn’t going to happen.

While this won’t be much of a problem when you are at home, it can get pretty embarrassing when junior acts up in public. Imagine having to chase them down the aisle halfway through a wedding ceremony. What about trying to shush them because what started out as soft humming has become a full-scale song and dance performance? You cringe to even think about it!

Then, you look over at your friend’s kids who are able to sit through an hour-long activity without fidgeting. Why do other kids seem so well-behaved, while your little monkey just zips around the room like a mini-tornado?

Kids with sensory processing difficulties may also display hyperactive behaviour when under or over stimulated.

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, explains that some kids are just more fidgety than others. “Just like how some children are taller are some are shorter, the ability to stay on task and focus differs from one child to another. Children who are unable to do so will get bored more easily and are more likely to fidget. In extreme cases, the child may be suffering from Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

Dr Vaani Gunaseelan, a clinical psychologist at Think Psychological Services, adds that children with anxiety problems may also appear restless and move around constantly. Kids with sensory processing difficulties may also display hyperactive behaviour when under or over stimulated.

She also explains that it is not until age 4 that most children have better memory and can start to focus well. However, every child develops differently depending on their environment, exposure and behaviour.

So, don’t fret if your little one just can’t keep still ― he just hasn’t developed the patience to focus on one thing for long periods of time! However, if you feel that their heightened activity is affecting their daily life, bring them to your to a developmental paediatrician for further evaluation.

Dr Alvin Liew, a psychiatrist at the Adult and Child Psychological Wellness Clinic, recommends that your child get a medical evaluation if you have already tried positive parenting methods without any results, or if they:

-          Are frequently inattentive, hyperactive or display impulsive behaviours.

-          Have learning difficulties or problems in their daily interaction with others.

-          Tell you that they are feeling bad or distressed by their own behavior.

-          Have a sudden change in behaviour after a head injury or fever.