How to Control a Hyperactive Child

Valorie Delp
Hyperactivity means lots of energy.

If you've ever watched a child who is hyperactive, you might wonder how to control hyper child behavior; behaviors that are hyperactive can often be difficult to handle.

Common Behaviors for Hyperactive Children

Children who are hyperactive often struggle with a variety of behaviors that leave care givers and teachers alike very frustrated. These might include:

  • An inability to sit still
  • Emotional outbursts
  • A short attention span
  • Exaggerated emotional responses (Making a mountain out of a mole hill.)
  • Heightened sensitivity to stimuli

However, once you learn to manage and control hyper child behaviors, particularly some of the more common behavior problems, you will often find that a hyperactive child can and will excel in a variety of situations.

Controlling Hyper Behavior

No two children are exactly the same and no single strategy alone is solely effective at winning the cooperation of a hyperactive child. Therefore, you may need to learn by trial and error what type of strategies work and when.

Consequences 101

In general, any consequence given for a behavior issue should be logical and should be handed out as soon as possible. However, it's particularly important to make sure a consequence given is immediate for a child who struggles with hyperactivity. These kids are often not able to relate a consequence to the behavior problem if there is a lengthy period of time between the two. An appropriate length of time depends on the age of the child, and of course the younger a child is, the less time should lapse.

Are Your Expectations Realistic?

Many adults find that adjusting their expectations really helps with hyperactive kids. For example, if your expectation is that all students sit on the floor and listen while you read, perhaps Joe can walk, stand or fidget quietly in the back of the room. If he's not making noise, the extra activity may help him process information better!

Calming Rather than Escalating

Regardless of how you feel, and regardless of what has happened, as the adult-you must exude calmness. Everything from your voice to your facial expressions can help influence the response of a child. Being calm doesn't mean that everything is okay and you should just ignore the behavior, but it does mean that anything you say is done in a calm but firm voice.

When It's Appropriate to Ignore

There are times when children do things to simply get attention. It's up to you as the adult in charge to discern when this is happening. However, when it is happening, it is important to ignore or minimize any behavior by treating it as matter of factly as possible. At the same time, it's important to try to encourage, promote and notice any positive behavior from the child.

How to Control a Hyper Child: Behavior Tricks that Work

While there are no quick fixes for how to control hyper behavior, there are a few "tricks" that make dealing with hyperactivity a little easier.

  1. Make sure the child is getting a breakfast with whole grains and a little protein.
  2. Limit the amount of sugar the child is getting.
  3. Have the child evaluated for food sensitivities/allergies. (Gluten in particular can be a culprit in hyperactive behavior.)
  4. Make sure that any consequences you give are consistent and reliable.
  5. Don't escalate the problem by getting visibly angry.
  6. Never yell-but instead lower your voice when speaking.
  7. Allow a hyperactive child to move while being taught. Movement can help kids focus.
  8. Make sure that there is opportunity for plenty of exercise and an opportunity to burn off energy.
  9. Praise, reward and draw attention to positive progress.
  10. Never tire of refocusing.

Hyper active behavior can be minimized and children who struggle with hyperactivity can succeed and excel. By using smart strategies that help calm and focus the child, you can help the hyperactive child reach his fullest potential.

How to Control a Hyperactive Child