Thursday, October 25, 2007

hyper kids!!

A mom wrote in recently about her five-year-old boy who simply cannot sit still! She has tried to get him involved in activities to burn off the energy, but the instructors end up getting frustrated with him.

I'm just wondering how she happened upon a five-year-old boy who is exactly like my five-year-old boy. Today at lunch, I walked in and he is running in place on the bench seat while eating his veggie burger!! Korben never sits still. Sometimes, I'm envious of him, especially on those days when I can't pry my butt off the sofa.

My advice to her is to give him room to run! All children have a different way of approaching the world, and our boys happen to be a bit more "gung ho" than "gandhi." It gets frustrating, especially when it comes to learning. I am very fortunate that we homeschool because I can adapt the curriculum to fit his learning style. Instead of sitting and matching letters in workbooks, he would much rather jump from letter to letter!

Another piece of advice to to carefully watch his diet. Chemicals, such as artificial colors and flavors, that may not normally affect children can have adverse effects on our little dynamos. Excessive sugar also needs to be avoided (duh!). When I do cook with sugar, I use sucanat (natural sugar cane--it still contains the minerals and nutrients in the sugar cane that help it digest properly).

Last piece of advice is to NEVER label your child. When you say your child is "hyperactive" or a "problem," then that is exactly what he will be. Use affirming and encouraging words and phrases. And don't ever allow anyone else to do otherwise.

Do any of you have hyper kids? How do you handle it? How do they handle organized activities? Let me know!


Kris said...

Hi Hannah,
I have a five year old boy who just started kindergarten. About 7 weeks in and I just got called in last week because he "can't still still," and has said "no" to the teacher. The teacher is more concerned about the latter, but what she was telling him to do was "sit still." :-)

John simply can't sit still. He is in constant, constant motion. He's smart as a whip, has an incredible memory, is sensative and kind, and just plain wonderful in so many ways. So we'll see how his teacher is able to work with this extra energetic (and talkative) little boy.

Kris said...

I just wanted to add that the only things I can come up with to "help" him are, like you said, watch the sugar and the fake dyes, and also to make sure that he gets enough (an hour +) of physical activity every day.

Sometimes I do worry that he doesn't know how to relax. Even after a long day his still up, down, up, down, jumping and kicking. I'm interested to know how other moms have handled this!

my3sons said...

I have 3 boys, ages 7, 9 and 11. When my oldest was in Kindergarten - 2nd grade, various school personnel wanted to label him ADD or ADHD. I knew better. He was an active boy being asked to basically sit still for several hours, and that was not his learning style. The K and 1 teachers were flexible, and allowed him to stand and do his work, he could walk around when he needed to, and they let him use various manipulative objects to "get the wiggles out". The 2nd grade teacher did not want to allow this, and the year did not go well. He "outgrew" this, for the most part, by 3rd grade.

It turns out my youngest son is the same way. He is at a different school that embraces all learning styles, and they accommodate his need to move around. He is so joyful, and literally bounces around when he is happy and excited. It is so wonderful to see him thrive in his school environment, since they value him at his current developmental stage.

Turns out many boys need a sensory/ kinesthetic outlet for their energy. Sometimes something as simple as a "squishy ball" or Koosh ball can do the trick. Other times they need to be able to stand or walk around. There are lots of possibilities. Most teachers are more than willing to work with you to come up with an acceptable solution, because they genuinely want your child to be successful. But don't ever settle for the "label" someone may want to attach to your child if you know in your heart that's not the case.

lisa said...

Yes my kids are hyper and can never sit. I havent learned to deal with it. I just tell myself that my 3 and 4 year olds are extra smart and that is why they are so active. LOL.
They are both girls and into everything and indeed very smart. They drive me nuts though most of the time and sometimes I am sitting still and just watching them wears me out.

Hezra said...

I have five kids. 3 boys and 2 girls. We homeschool and I am able to get each kid in a school groove of their own. My five year old little girl sits for hours and writes and loves workbooks. The boys HATE to sit, hate to write and hate workbooks. We have bought a mini trampoline and when they start to get restless, we have them go outside to run or jump on the trampoline. They NEED to be able to move more. They are active, spirited and bright. My 7 year old son learned to count when he was three by counting jumps. He spells by moving his letter cards into the right order. Find ways they can MOVE and learn and grow as safely as possible.A good book is Raising your Spirited child. We have noticed that things like petting the cat and reading a book and taking a long bubble bath relax our most hyper little guy. Teaching them ways to chill are very important. Finding out what makes him tick is too. I have one who is very "touch" oriented. He wants to feel everything. He giggled when we put on his first sweatshirt this year--"it tickles!" We try to find things he can touch and in all different textures. Another thing that has been helpful is an herbal supplement for our youngest boy, it is called "calm child" and is a wonder!!! (It is from the health food store.)

LEDF said...

Hello Ladies--

My K son is also very active, tactile, etc. I resisted labeling despite much pressure to do so. I do have him currently in OT, but after reading these comments, I am worried I have sent the wrong message to him. He is smart and sweet, although getting a little mouthy lately. One issue we are working on is not moving so fast he is not safe, thinking before acting.
aybe it is the impulsiveness that is more the problem-- do your children also deal with this? He does touch everything and everyone-- especially when excited, which can be offputting socially. Any Suggestions? Thank you!

bbrookhart said...

HaHa this is great...almost therapudic for me. I have a couple boys, the oldest 7 now, and he's what we like to call "energetic". He was kicked out of pre-school when he was 4 and has not slowed down a bit since then (why you teach a 4 year old how to mix paint, and then leave him and others in a room alone, is beond me). So maybe you can see why i find this blog a bit relaxing :P

good2know = boyz will be boyz, everywhere

ScrimplyThrifty said...

I also have a 5 year old boy with tons of energy. My daughter, who is 8 and in 3rd grade was the same way but is growing out of it more this year (there is hope for the future.) My 10 month old is already showing signs of the same behavior. Aargh! It is tough. I homeschool and am constantly wore out. I know he would not do well in public school, he's always complaining about being bored, bouncing off the walls, etc. He can't even play a video game without standing up jumping up and down (I just think, "well, can't say he isn't getting his exercise", lol) Unfortunately my third grader in public virtual school and the baby take a lot of my time. We don't do much "sit down" school with him. He learns a lot from being around his sister during school and I just talk to him a lot about things, showing him the things he needs to learn. He's been reading since he was 4 and can even multiply smaller numbers, 2's, 5's and 10's in math, so I don't worry about whether he will learn, I sometimes just don't know how to teach him while he's so active. It's something you have to be very creative with. My biggest problem is when he starts getting agressive with his siblings, sometimes kicking and hitting, or just slamming stuff around, punching stuff. It's not in anger, it's just excessive roughness, pent-up energy, or sometimes I think it's because he's so tired (but won't take a nap)...sometimes I can see it in his eyes. Does anyone have any tips for getting a hyper kid to take an afternoon nap. I think that would make a world of difference in our household.

Thanks for writing about this, I feel better knowing that I'm not the only one out there. I hate it when I'm in public and people look at me like I'm a horrible mom because I can't keep my kid under control. My kids don't respond to discipline. Everyone says "be consistant", and I can say that even consistancy doesn't work with my kids.

I enjoy reading about how others handle it. I didn't realize food dye's can affect them. Does anyone know what specific ones to look for? We try to eat healthy. Fruits and veggies, etc. but I think I might just be taking a closer look at his diet.

@Bbrookheart...LOL at the paint! That is so true.