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How to Be a Safe, Calming Harbor for a Hyperactive Kid
By Dr. Linda Pearson

Hyperactivity can be perfectly normal behavior for a toddler or preschooler, particularly one with a highly active temperament. Simply recognizing this fact, however, doesn't make dealing with a frenetic child any easier. In her new book, THE DISCIPLINE MIRACLE, Dr. Linda Pearson offers strategies for coping with "wilding," while giving your little mover-and-shaker a sense of security:

*Accept your child's overly active behaviors as part of who she is. Don't allow yourself or others to label him as "bad" because of his increased energy and short attention span. Your child did not choose her temperament to annoy you.

*Provide an outlet for his extra energy. Schedule active activities into your child's routine-every day. If you don't, his excess energy will spill out in negative behaviors. When your energy wanes, remember the positive side: the more activities you share with your hyperactive child, the more tightly you will bond with him.

*Keep your home well organized. Regular predictable routines are extremely important to highly active kids. Toddlers and preschoolers are better able to adjust their energy bursts to what's appropriate when they know what's coming-in other words, when it's time for their nap, meals, quiet play, bath, and bed.

*Avoid fatigue and hunger in your child. When hyperactive little ones become hungry or exhausted, they tend to lash out in extremely active or aggressive ways. Keep meals and snacks on schedule. Do not wait to put your child to bed until she seems or acts tired. In fact, an overly active kid needs more sleep than other kids his age. Schedule and stick to bedtime as if your child's health depends on it.

*Try to stretch your child's attention span. You can help your child learn to sit still and listen by setting aside brief periods each day to read to her. You can help her learn the social skills of quieting her twitching muscles by inviting her to play quiet games. Praise your restless child for her calmness, even when it lasts for only a little while. If she gets fidgety, take an "active" break and begin again at a later time. Try to make reading and quiet games regularly scheduled activities so your child can internally prepare for them.

Adapted from THE DISCIPLINE MIRACLE: The Clinically Proven System for Raising Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Kids by Dr. Linda Pearson (AMACOM Books; November 2005; $14.95 Paperback Original; ISBN: 0-8144-7297-4).

The information presented on this site is intended solely as a general educational aid, and is neither medical nor healthcare advice for any individual problem, nor a substitute for medical or other professional advice and services from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your unique circumstances. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition and before starting any new treatment.

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