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Pregnancy and baby

Looking after an active toddler

Young children like to be active, and it's normal for them to have lots of energy. Keeping babies and toddlers active every day is good for their health.

Looking after a child who is always on the go can be tiring and stressful, but there are things you can do to make life easier for both of you.

Tips for daily life with a very active child

  • keep to a daily routine – routine can help if your child is restless or difficult; it can also help you stay calm and cope with the strain
  • dedicate time to your child – since your child may be demanding your attention for most of the day (and sometimes at night, too) you'll often have to say no to them; that will be easier to do and easier for your child to accept if there are times each day when you give them all your attention
  • avoid difficult situations – for example, keep shopping trips short
  • try to go out every day – go to a park, playground or other safe, open space where your child can run around and use up energy
  • set small goals – help your child to sit still or be controlled, and encourage them to concentrate for a very short time, then gradually build it up; remember, you can't transform your child's behaviour overnight

Many children seem overactive, but only about 2% of children in the UK have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is what used to be known as hyperactivity.

The challenge for parents and health professionals is to recognise the difference between the normal energy levels of a young child and ADHD symptoms. Identifying ADHD early is important to make sure your child gets the support they need.

If you are worried about your child's behaviour, talk to your health visitor or GP.

More information

Page last reviewed: 08/09/2015

Next review due: 30/04/2017


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