Has your child ever been described as highly spirited or over energetic. Along with overly enthusiastic, too energetic, ants in his pants and so on. Well I can certainly say mine has. My son is what you would describe as a over enthusiastic boy with endless amounts of energy to burn each day. Or simply just chaos!
My son is the one that has found the highest point in the playground whether it is a climbing frame or not, the one that hasn’t had front teeth due to a kamikaze move when he was closer to 2 years old.
The first week of school the teacher mentioned to us ‘he was a little fidgety wouldn’t sit still’ which we weren’t surprised about. My husband and I discussed this then decided to do our own experiment to expend this excess amount of energy.
Over the next week of school we ran him around the garden each morning for 30mins (at 6am) before taking him to school. We thought he would either be calm, over excited or fall asleep being over tired each day. In hope this will allow him to exert energy before school. At the end of the week we asked the teacher how his behaviour was this week.
The teacher mentioned ‘there was a vast improvement he was sitting still in quiet time, listening to stories and following instructions over the week, then asked what we were doing?‘ We simply said ‘before school he has jumped on the trampoline for 30mins or gone for a scoot with the dog then he is ready to go to school.’ Amazing how 30mins exercise/activity resulted in a more attentive child.
After a busy week at school my husband decided to teach my overly energetic son chess on a Saturday afternoon….Can you imagine my thoughts, how long till the pieces are thrown across the room, who will have the first tantrum my husband from sheer frustration or my son from being bored, wanting to play a physical game. However great bonding time for the boys so let them have fun.
To my surprise over the next 40mins my son sat still listened, started to learn. Where the pieces go, how to move some pieces, for once I saw him concentrate on a single activity. I was amazed!
Then at the 30mins mark he jumped up, left the table, went outside, ran around the garden jumping on the trampoline like a an animal that had just been let out of his cage for the next 30mins. I found this really interesting as he took himself outside, knew he needed to just be in free play. He had enough, fair was my first thought.
Sir Ken Robinson spoke at a ted talk about channeling your child’s energy in the right way then their behaviour will change towards other activities. We are finding this with our son, find their outlet, channel that excess energy.
Children are all born with different energy levels, some have more than others due to there socio environment. With overly energetic children there are many ways to engage them. Here are a few strategies we have tried with our son which has made life easier;
- Try and suppress the energy, putting them in the thinking chair, in my experience this is a short term gain has its benefits for understanding the behaviour is unacceptable. However if really wound up does the reverse effect.
- Treat them as an individual find activities that will allow them to express themselves. whether it be sport, arts and crafts, or another activity.
- Minimise all sugary, processed food, maximise fresh food, vegetables, fruit, carbohydrates, water, etc.
- Sleep is very important, we find if they go to bed late, they still wake up early it doesn’t result in a sleep in unfortunately.
Spirited children energy should be embraced, then channeled into other activities. Love to hear your thoughts, experience in this area, lets embrace our spirited children!