Parenting Strategies for an Active Child
Some children are movers and shakers. Find parenting strategies for the child who is always on the go, exploring the world around them by crawling, running, and climbing.
A child’s activity level does’t mean there is a problem. It’s just how they prefer to interact, explore, and learn. Some children are movers and shakers. Even as babies, they are quick to roll over, squirm, and crawl. They like to reach out, grab, and bat at the dangling toys hanging from their mobile. They often develop into toddlers who are always on the go, exploring the world around them by crawling, running, and climbing. These movers and shakers:
love spaces that offer lots of opportunity for movement;
often need a lot of supervision;
are likely to keep moving until they drop; and
tend to reach out for and touch anything they can get their hands on.
Most kids fall somewhere in the middle. They enjoy running, climbing, and jumping, but they are also happy sitting with a puzzle or a book. They move easily from a quiet activity to a more active one.
Here are strategies you can use to for children who are naturally high-energy.
Offer lots of opportunities for safe, active exploration. Baby-proof your entire home. (Of course, you need to baby-proof no matter your child’s activity level!) Create obstacle courses with pillows on the floor. Play hide-and-seek, freeze tag, and other active games.
Don’t expect your child to lie or sit still for long. Let her stand for a diaper change, give her permission to leave the high chair as soon as she is done eating, and allow her to turn the pages or act out the story when you read a book.
Engage your child’s help with everyday activities. Ask him to carry spoons to the table, help pick up leaves, and put all of the clean socks in a pile.
Recognize that your child will need extra time to wind down. Start limiting active play at least an hour before bedtime and perhaps 30 minutes before naptime to help her slow down.
Remember, active children aren’t wild or out of control. They just need to move.
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