Children are often told to sit still. This happens everywhere and sometimes it’s necessary, like at school, during mealtime, and at home; and when they don’t, we often believe that they are misbehaving or that we, as parents, may be doing something wrong. When children become overstimulated, their high energy levels can often go through the roof. What can you do to help your little one calm down and focus?
- Let your child fidget
- Your child can simply be bored and may feel the need to stand up and move around. A small amount of physical movement can help a child focus more. Loren Shlaes, a pediatric occupational therapist in New York City, suggests allowing a child to hold a fidget toy such as a stress ball.
- Go outside
- Moving around is a good way of helping your child pay attention; so the more activity, the better. Playing outside stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin -both neurotransmitters that are critical for attention, focus, impulse control, and learning. Some children focus and listen so much better after taking a walk or just being around nature. Dr Swanson suggests children spend at least an hour a day outdoors. A recent study at Auburn University found a single 30-minute stint of exercise helped preschooler’s ability to pay attention in class, compared with being sedentary.
- Play calming music
- You can help establish a calmer mood in the room with music. Playing calming music is a great way to lower energy levels. Music helps kids regulate their emotions the same way lullabies help calm a baby. Soft music can help children calm their bodies down, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
- Blow bubbles
- As children take a deep breath to blow on the bubble they are practicing deep breathing which encourages relaxation. Teaching your little one to blow bubbles slowly and carefully can help calm his mind, body, and emotions!