So many moms I know have said that they thought their children were energetic… until they meet my son. My boy hasn’t stopped bouncing, running, jumping, wiggling, building, and making noise since God blessed us with an Active Child over four years ago.
He has two younger sisters as well, but they do not have the same larger-than-life personality. People say, “You must be exhausted!” The truth is, there are some days when bedtime cannot come soon enough. However, I have learned what works and what doesn’t with him. Every child is different, but these tips have allowed me to embrace his energy without becoming overwhelmed and exhausted myself.
I don’t want my son to lose his energy and enthusiasm for life as he grows up. He might lose exactly that if all I ever do is tell him to stop, be quiet, sit still, etc. I don’t want him to be a crazy lunatic, of course, but he’s not usually being bad, just energetic. Discipline is obviously necessary and a crucial part of parenting, but constantly nagging him to quit this or that would crush his spirit and steal his enthusiasm over time.
Most of the time, he really just wants me to share that enthusiasm with him! So, instead of selfishly quashing that joy, I use these tips to help direct his energy in a way that allows him to be himself without completely draining my own energy supply. I need to conserve what I have left, especially with a newborn in the house right now!
Tips for Raising Very Active Children
Remember, your energetic child is not necessarily being bad, just energetic! The trick is to channel that energy and get them to burn as much as possible in positive, productive ways. My son was a bit rambunctious when he was littler, but I see his energy and big personality becoming more and more of a blessing as he grows, develops, and matures.
Incorporate exercise time into each day. Whether it be actual exercise activities or simply active games, exercise is so important for them. It helps all of us to release stress and burn energy. Not to mention, it is an important health habit to form early in life. HERE are some great, unique ideas for burning energy inside the house when weather does not permit the kids to go outdoors.
This could be a post all on its own, but people often rise to the challenge of the standards and expectations placed on them! Show your young child that you trust them with little responsibilities (such as taking care of garden plants or helping with the family pets), and odds are that they will be excited about those “jobs,” feel like an important part of the family, and beam with confidence when you express that you are proud of them. They will burn energy, and your house will be cleaner!
Natural consequences teach great lessons as well, especially if they are ever NOT successful with a responsibility (i.e. a plant dies if it is not watered regularly), so either way, they are better for it. Of course, the key is to make sure that they are supervised and given age-appropriate tasks. This is the time to allow consequences to do the teaching while you can control them, and they are not life-threatening!
Busy Bags and Crafts
Rather than leaving things to chance and the possibility of idle hands, keep a collection of busy bags, easy crafts, etc. on hand that your child can play with and use their hands to create and build things with.
Get your child involved in an active, hands-on hobby or sport. I am not advocating a family putting sports first and becoming so busy that they never have dinner together, but these types of activities can burn energy and help with cognitive and physical development in younger children. They oftentimes teach discipline and teamwork as well as an added bonus!
This may seem obvious, but do not allow your child to watch too much television. I have noticed that my son does not obey as well and is more antsy if he watches too much tv, so we keep shows short and to a minimum.
Give your child choices as often as possible when both choices are appropriate and suit both your needs and the needs of your child. I know that choices really help with my son because he is very independent, and they allow him to feel independent while accepting my parental influence with a cheerful heart.
There are times when choices are not an option, but when those situations arise, his excess energy does not become an enemy that I enter into a combat zone with because he has previously been able to make some small decisions himself. I do not support bribing or manipulating children, but rather setting them up for success.
Get Active Kids Outdoors and Dirty
Get those kids outdoors! Not every kid likes to get dirty, but allow (and even encourage!) them to get messy every once in awhile. Life is too short! Digging in the dirt and exploring are great ways to burn energy and develop physical and cognitive skills.
Of course, your child should ask permission first and probably go outside, but if they don’t, be sure to get the camera out quietly before dealing with the situation! It will be much funnier a few years later…
Even better, get outdoors and be active as a family! It is important to model what we want our children to value once they become adults.
There is a time for spontaneity, and kids do need to learn to be flexible. However, they thrive when they have routines as well, especially when you are dealing with a ball of energy. We have a bedtime routine that the kids go through once we say that it is bedtime. There is no battle, and they are not allowed to be “crazy” because it is time to calm down and prepare for family prayer time and going to sleep afterward.
Short Bits of School
Again, this could be a post all on its own, but part of the reason why so many children are diagnosed with ADHD today is because of unreasonable expectations. You cannot take an overly energetic young child and expect them to sit still and pay attention for 6+ hours a day almost straight. I can’t imagine having to do that myself!
So for you homeschoolers out there, make sure that you have short spurts of school throughout the day with active activities and play in between. (Routine plays a role in this as well.)
This is also a tip for homeschoolers. Whenever possible, incorporate movement and hands-on activities into your lessons. Your child will love it and pay attention for a longer amount of time. He or she will probably retain the information better anyway!
One-on-One Time for an Active Child
I have noticed that when my husband or I make sure to consistently spend quality one-on-one time with our son, his behavior is better on average. He craves it! If he doesn’t get it for some time, his excess energy and behavior seem to get worse. So, date night is important for both your spouse and your child!
Again, this is probably another more obvious one, but avoid feeding your child excess sugar and processed foods. We really are what we eat, and sugar is just empty calories and does not set your child up for success when it comes to their behavior and activity levels.
This goes right along with children knowing what is expected of them. It is important that children, especially a very energetic child, know their limits and what consequences will result from their actions. A child should not be surprised by discipline they receive if their parents have a consistent discipline system in effect in their home.
Visual, Hands-On Reward System
This may not work for everyone, but my son does really well when he can see the fruits of his behavior visually and use his hands to manipulate consequences. Check out Janine’s simple, hands-on reward system HERE! She also describes the popsicle stick reward system that we personally use HERE.
Let your energetic child be the superhero who saves your family from the bad guys or the firefighter putting out huge “fires” or the princess dancing for her king. Join in on the fun when you can!
One good thing is that because Superman works so hard, he sleeps hard, too…
An Active Child Can Be a Big Helper
Let them be your big helper, even if what you are doing takes longer. At this age, they want to be just like you! Enjoy it! These memories will be the ones they do not forget, and these times have the same affect on their energy level and behavior as those one-on-one date nights. Plus, they learn how to do whatever you are doing!
My boy is becoming a polite, respectful young man with such a positive, upbeat outlook on life, and I pray that he never loses his energetic enthusiasm. I know and pray that the Lord will use it to further His kingdom!
So, within reason, embrace your child’s energy and allow them to be “that” kid who jumps off fire hydrants, rides a bike wearing a motorcycle helmet, runs around with the goats at your uncle’s farm, and treats the famous FAO Schwarz piano in NYC like a slip and slide while the rest of the kids are playing it normally… One day, you will miss these times!
I hope some of these tips will leave you a little less overwhelmed and help with your energetic little ones. Please comment below with any tips that have helped you that are not mentioned in this list! Let us know how these tips work in your home as well.
Kim @ HappyPrettyBlog says
I LOVE your tips! I’ve got a very active 2 year old boy and I know he’ll get even busier in the next few years!
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Margaret MacKenzie says
Great post. I have 2 children…a 27 year old daughter and a 33 mth old son. They are soooo different. My daughter wouldn’t touch if told not to, loved to keep things together, played quietly but my son, my wonderful, energetic son. I wouldn’t trade either of these experiences of raising two very different children but it would have been better if I had the energetic one first because I was younger and had more energy myself. LOL! Things happen for a reason and I think that my son is the universe’s way of giving me a reason to get up in the morning. I was diagnosed with vertigo, migraines, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue over the past several years so I really don’t feel like doing anything everyday but my little man needs me to play, teach and encourage his imagination and energy. I do a lot of the things that you mention in this post. My son, with his immense energy level, is a thoughtful, polite and empathetic child, even when he loses control. Thanks for the great post!
33 month old? You meant to say almost 3 year old right? I actually had to use a calculator! Lol.
Good catch! Yes! 3yr old! lol
This article post is really beautiful. Your tips for parenting very active child can be useful for me as I have 4 yr old kid.
Mom of a very active 6.5 month old son says
You are an amazing mom! Thanks for the tips. You’ve prepped me for the future!
Amy K says
I just wanted to say thank you! I stumbled upon your blog through something else, and this was the link it took me to! Praise the Lord! We have two boys and a girl, and our middle son who just turned 3 is our “busy” guy. I don’t feel like any of this is outrageous news to me, but just knowing that we’re not alone in dealing with this kiddo- and all the chaos that we face all day everyday because of/with him. It’s encouraging! Thanks for sharing your heart and some super resourceful tips! I really like your post on the “Magic Motivators” positive endorsements!
So glad to hear Amy! Thank you for stopping by 🙂
Aimee Yanez says
Thanks for this! Your son and my 5 year old boy seem to be very similar. Today was a hard day, and I was feeling pretty low on the mommy scale, but reading this not only helped me to know I wasn’t alone, but also that I’m doing things more on the right track than I thought. You also gave me valuable insight and ideas going forward!
The feeling I have after reading this article, is the same feeling my friends have when I tell them there’s no magic pill or easy weight loss plan. You have to put in the time and shift your life.
I have the most active three year old, with a beyond strong and assertive personality. I’m trying hard to deal with it in a way that won’t squash his personality, because it will serve him well in the world. But at home…..ughhhhhh
So I will continue working diligently and exhaustingly with my boy. His poor big sister.
Jennifer Teo says
Thank you so much for sharing.
My son is 7 years old. Now at least I know how to handle him and at the same time to enjoy him.
Great post!!! I have an older kid who is 11 and she is and has always been extremely laid back. My 10 month old son, however, has been very active. It has been very rewarding but exhausting. So I will definitely use these tips! Thanks.
Very encouraging words. I have a very active 5 and a half year old daughter. She is and always has been fun, but exhausting! My second child, on the other hand, age 2, is so calm. Just looking for some tips on dealing with my older one’s energy. I did create a chore list for her and she loves it. Like you said, it helps us both. I apply all natural cleaners or vinegar and she just scrubs to her hearts content.
Hello – thank you for your article , I smiled the whole way through as it reminded me so much of my own son . Mine sleeps just the way yours does too – they face plant into the pillows and are out like a light ( recharging those batteries ). Another tip is I’ve found board games like Junior Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders great if you have to be indoors . It is their minds being adventurous , the surprise element and having fun ! It also helps teaching them to play by the rules and be fair and supportive. Not sure if other active boys like this still indoor activity but it’s been great for us when we are having down time. My son is 4.5 years old . Big hugs and may everyone embrace wonderfully active boys – they are tomorrow’s firefighters , police officers , Sport coaches and so much more the world needs .
Haha! Face-planter! We love games too! So true, they are great for their minds!
This made me laugh because this is sooo my son. I’m just became a work at home mom so I’m not used to his energy for so many hours in a row. Loved hearing the encouragement and the reminder to embrace his energy and…spirit, we shall call it haha. You mentioned a good bedtime routine. Do you have a post on that? Going to bed has become a GIANT issue with my son recently. He just wants to stay up and be with me and play. He’s also going through the defiant 2s so that doesn’t help. Thanks!
Wow! Great kid you have, I really like the picture of your kid with helmet. Its awesome!!!
Sparkle Peek says
Hi I loved this article, I was looking for ways to help my soon to be 5 year old daughter channel her energy. She loves to help me in the kitchen and if it’s not too hot outside I take her and her brother to the park to play so they can rip and run. I will purchase more board games she loves to play games and we will slowly but surely cut down on screen time.
I really appreciated this article. My son just turned 10. We homeschool and we just started to go to coop one day a week. My son’s energy has been a problem because he struggles to be still if he doesn’t have something to keep his hands busy. I have been feeling down about this for the last week. Most of the children in the coop his age are girls and they seem to be better at sitting still. I just want my little guy to make friends and be liked by his teachers.
Penelope Smith says
My nephew is rather hyperactive. It is good to know that having him play outside offen fould help. It might be smart for my sister to check if he is ADHD or ADD.
Penelope Smith recently posted…Late to Work Again? Use this Morning Flight Plan to Arrive on Time, Every Day!
This article post is really great. Your tips can be useful for every parents with young children .Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post
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This article post is really beautiful. Your tips for parenting are great. You are a great mom. Thanks for sharing wonderful tips