At age 4, Sherry Jankowski's daughter, Courtney, reminded her of a certain battery commercial. "She was like that little toy bunny -- she just kept going and going," says the Fort Irwin, California, mother. "I tried to keep up with her, but I was worn out long before she was."
Sound familiar? Then you'll be happy to know your kid's high energy is perfectly normal. "At 4, a child has gained control over her body," says Ken Haller, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. "This gives her a feeling of independence, and it naturally leads to more active behavior."
Within a short span of time, your 4- or 5-year-old may start skipping, dancing, spinning around, somersaulting, climbing on the furniture, jumping off steps, and walking heel to toe along a crack as if on a balance beam. She is probably able to stand on one foot and hop several times in a row without losing her balance. And she may no longer need you to push her on the swing, now that she's mastered the art of pumping.
In addition, each successful new accomplishment boosts her confidence and spurs her desire to test and expand upon her new abilities, says Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and coauthor of Touchpoints 3 to 6.
Keeping pace with a high-energy child can be exhausting. But reining him in isn't the answer. Instead, find positive ways to redirect his spirit, and eliminate anything that may hype him up further. Here are six strategies.
Kids get hyped up when there's nothing to do. Keep them busy with these mom-tested ideas.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.