Whether it’s at school during story time, or during mealtimes, kids are often required to sit still. When they don’t, we often think they’re misbehaving. Or worse, fear that there’s some behavioral problem at play. Between the ages of three and four, kids are just beginning to learn how to focus for longer periods of time. But wiggling is still a big part of their world. If it’s gotten to a point where you’re worried and need some help, here are a few tactics you can try to calm overactive kids:
How to calm overactive kids
Allow them to fidget
Most kids that get up when they are supposed to be sitting are just plain bored. According to child psychologist Fran Walfish: “A preschooler may be able to sit only for a few minutes at circle time. Or longer if a story or song is engaging”.
But if your child seems a little bit too overactive, try to find ways to deal with the problem without trying to punish him. Even a small amount of physical movement can help kids focus. Fidget toys, such as stress balls, can be very helpful in a variety of situations. You can also try giving your kid some gum or having them sit on inflatable chairs that juggle a little.
Get them outdoors
Moving around helps a great deal as far as getting kids to pay attention goes. In fact, the more active they are, the better. When kids play in the great outdoors, the production of serotonin and dopamine is enhanced. This boosts attention, focus, impulse control, and learning.
Try to get your kids to spend at least one hour outdoors on a daily basis. According to a study from the Auburn University, one 30-minute session of aerobic exercise can help preschool kids pay attention in class.
Talk to an expert
If your child has a serious problem with staying still, it might be time to sit down for a chat with the pediatrician. It might be worth checking out a child’s attention span if it isn’t increasing over the period of a few months. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder might be the underlying issue. And there are a lot of ways to manage these behavioral problems. Depending on what type of signs and symptoms your kid has, a referral to a developmental pediatrician or child psychologist is possible. Ocupational therapist and speech pathologist can do more thorough evaluations.