Strategies for Handling An Overly Energetic Child


Who doesn’t have those times when the kids seem to be so full of energy that it’s exhausting just to watch them? Some kids just naturally have a lot of energy pent up inside. For others, however, there may be reasons why they get so wound up. This may be especially true if you notice their abundant lively behavior appearing at about the same time each day.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help minimize their overactive spells.

First, try to determine the root cause of their behavior. This could be caused by what they are eating or drinking, an attempt to gain attention, or a need for sleep.

Here are a few suggestions that won’t hurt to try, even if you are not sure of the reason for their behavior:

  1. Limit sugary drinks: If your child is drinking koolaid, sodas, juices or any other sugary drinks all day long, they are very likely to be bouncing off the walls. All that sugar is going to keep them fueled up. Try instead, limiting those types of drinks to meal time only, and only one glass full. Then let them drink water or milk throughout the rest of the day.
  2. Watch their snacks: Just like drinks, snacks like cookies and candy contain tremendous amounts of sugar, instead try fresh fruits, crackers, nuts and cheese.
  3. Give them time to release energy: There are times when kids are just going to have energy no matter what you do, and it’s not only normal but good for them. So, try to allow them some time each day to release it. If it’s nice outside, take them out and let them run wild. If not, try turning on some music and dancing around with them. It’ll be good for you, too.
  4. Make way for nap-time: You may think that your child is old enough not to need a nap, but if he is wired because he’s tired, then maybe a nap is the remedy. Try to notice if your child is getting revved up at about the same time each day, most likely mid-afternoon to early evening. If this is the case, chances are your kid may be just tired. Strange, huh? We get tired, and we slow down; kids get tired and they seem to go into hyper-drive.
  5. Let them know your expectations: If your kids tend to get wild when you are out, try explaining to them beforehand where you are going and what will be happening. Also let them know how you expect them to behave and what will happen to them if they don’t comply. This has helped tremendously with my son, because he has time to resolve in his mind that the outing is going to take place and what the consequences are if he doesn’t obey.
  6. Give them your undivided attention: Many times children will act livelier than usual in an attempt to gain attention. Of course, it is not possible, nor is it reasonable, for you to try to spend every waking minute with your children. However, try to set aside blocks of time each day specifically for playtime, story-time, game-time, or whatever you and your children like to do together. Try to make it a routine, about the same time each day, so that your children know when to expect to have your attention. If they know when their time with you is coming, they will be more likely to peacefully let you have your time.

All of these suggestions have been used on my children at one time or another, and I can say that I have had success at various times with each one. The thing to remember is that not every one will work every time or on every child, because there are different reasons for their behavior.

It’s best to just try each tactic and see which ones, or combinations, work best for your child. Also, don’t forget, they are children, and all children have a lot of energy sometimes, no matter what they eat and no matter what you do or say. That’s just part of what makes them kids.

Besides, don’t we wish we had some of that energy from time to time?

What do you do when your kids get a wild streak?

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Posted on March 18th, 2009 in Kids and Family | 6 Comments
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