A quick list of tips for calming hyperactive children, including preventative strategies

  • Keep them away from cool drinks and anything with added preservatives, colouring and sugar.
  • Check your own stress levels, as children are often emotional barometers for their teachers.
  • The longer you try and pin them to their seats, the harder they will be to manage, so try and encourage unstructured time in your lesson, with regular breaks for movement. Give them lots of opportunities to be creative as it helps to release emotional energy.
  • Many children do not know HOW to calm down or even what calm feels like.
  • Encourage relaxation and calmness in your classroom.
  • Try aromatherapy!
  • Reassure hyperactive children that you like them, even though you recognise they are ‘highly spirited’.
  • Use calming music in your lessons.
  • Make the effort to really listen to them at least once a day or when you teach them. Many hyperactive children react negatively to authority, so making time for them on their own will help to build their confidence.
  • Be positive! Hyperactive children pick up negative thoughts very quickly and will react and respond to them.
  • Hold the highest vision for these children and try not to label them as difficult or nonconformist.
  • Maintain firm boundaries, negotiate and be kind.

    Turn it around, and learn from hyperactive children the gifts of honesty, perseverance, patience and problem-solving.

    Adapted with permission from Saving Our Children from our Chaotic World by Maggie Dent (ISBN 097512580X)

    This article first appeared in Teaching Expertise, September 2005.

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