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Help! I have a hyperactive child!

By Karen Holford 1 min read
Sunday, August 23, 2020

Q: Help! What is the solution for a two-year-old boy being hyperactive?

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When a two-year-old is hyperactive, there can be all kinds of causes. To start with, it's good to check whether the hyperactivity is within a normal range, as many two-year-olds are naturally very active. It can be quite alarming when a small child becomes very active in the home because they can easily hurt themselves or break things, so it’s best to move breakable and expensive items out of their way, if that’s possible.

It’s also important to talk to your family doctor or paediatrician and describe his behaviour in detail, because they can make a thorough assessment of your son’s physical wellbeing, organise specific tests and make professional recommendations. Make a chart of your son’s activity levels throughout the day and night, using your own 0–5 score ratings, so that you can give any professional a clear idea of what you are experiencing at home.

Alongside the activity levels, make a note of everything he has eaten and what is happening in the home when he is extra active. I have seen many children whose hyperactivity was related to a food sensitivity, and it’s worth making small changes to his diet to see if there are any of these issues. One of my friend’s daughters became hyperactive whenever she drank or ate anything containing citrus or citric acid; for other children, it was chemical additives in a drink, or intolerances/allergies/sensitivities to things like lactose, dairy, soy, gluten, etc.

Sometimes children become very active because they want to spend time with a parent, especially if a parent is working outside the home and they don’t see very much of them. It may also be helpful to take the child to a place where they can burn off lots of energy safely, such as in a soft play zone, going for a walk or a run or playing on outside toys.

I hope that you can find some help for you and your son so that you can both get some rest, as that is important too. Take care of yourself and, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the hyperactivity, make sure that you can get some support, and have some time to replenish your own energy and calmness. 


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Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.

Karen Holford has masters degrees in child psychology and family therapy, but the best learning about family and relationships has always been from her husband, children and grandchildren. She is the author of "52 Ways to Parent Happy Children".