Staying Calm with An Active Child

Alisa and Ivan’s son, Henry, was a child who loved to move and hated to sit still. He was happiest when playing outdoors. Running, swimming, and bike or scooter riding were some of his favorite things to do. Unfortunately he was also prone to fighting with his parents and other children. The minute there was any kind of tension in his vicinity Henry would somehow get involved, usually helping an already uncomfortable situation get worse.

Alisa and Ivan came to speak with me because it had been difficult to keep up with Henry’s need for constant activity but even harder to keep him out of the “trouble” he often got into when he went to the playground, hung out with friends at school or was bored at home.

I often suggest to parents that they try and stay calm when setting a limit or explaining things to children. This is often difficult to do but with an active six year old it can become a heroic achievement.

The family had often enjoyed relaxing on beach vacations together. As I talked to Mom and Dad we came up with an idea that Ivan called “beach time.”

If Henry started to “get out of control” when both parents were around they would look at each other say the word “beach,” laugh, pretend to be at waters edge on a beautiful day and then talk to Henry. It had an amazingly good effect and helped conversations with their high energy child stay calm and clear. When they asked him to “slow down” in their “beach voice” he would notice their calm tones and was more able to follow their example and became gradually more relaxed with the situation at hand.

When both parents were not available it was of course harder but knowing they could stay calm some of the time helped.

Another parent I know played music she loved before or while handling a challenging situation. “Tricks” such as these can help.