How to Slow Down a Hyper 2-Year-Old
Toddlers are naturally curious and energetic, often much to their parent's chagrin. Your 2-year-old's whirlwind personality means you're constantly on the go and chasing after your tiny ball of energy. Still, it's likely your pediatrician won't be alarmed. Hyperactivity disorders aren't typically diagnosed until age 4. By working to calm your hyperactive toddler, you'll gain greater control over her behavior and learn to work with her energy, developing a more manageable child overall.
Assess your expectations for your toddler. Simply expecting too much from a 2-year-old leads to disappointment and frustration. Toddlers have short attention spans, are constantly learning and growing and have high energy levels.
Distract your 2-year-old with a quiet activity when he's hyperactive. For example, sitting on the floor and reading the book with silly voices engages and interests him, if only for a few moments at a time.
Play with your toddler and tire her out throughout the day. Keeping an energetic 2-year-old cooped up leads to acting out. By spending time with your toddler in active play, she'll be calmer during times of the day that require less activity, such as bedtime.
Offer two choices of calmer activities from which your child can choose.Select two quiet activities, such as reading a book and singing quiet songs, and allow your child to choose the one that most appeals to him, giving him some control and avoiding a noisy power struggle.
Set limits for activity, noise and curiosity to allow your toddler the proper parameters in which to grow and develop safely and respectfully. For example, give her full reign in the playroom or explore the garden, allowing her an outlet for her energy without being destructive or disruptive.
Visit with your child's pediatrician about his behavior if you're concerned and discuss the behavior and strategies for dealing with it.
Make a conscious effort to ensure your toddler has ways to expend her energy before she's expected to be less noisy. Limit the amount of quiet time your toddler enjoys so she doesn't feel restricted. If you're concerned, early intervention by your child's pediatrician raises red flags that can identify problems in the future.
Hyperactivity medications, such as Ritalin, are not usually prescribed for young children as they have not been extensively tested for preschoolers and toddlers.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: AAP Expands Ages for Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD in Children
- "What to Expect the Toddler Years": Heidi Murkoff, et al.; 2008
- KidsHealth: What Is Hyperactivity?