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Tips on Behavior Modification for Toddlers Who Are Hyperactive

by Becky Swain , studioD

The flurry of activity, limited attention span and impulsivity exhibited by most toddlers is normal for this period of childhood development, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics in Healthy Children. It is also normal for parents to ponder how to moderate their toddler’s hyperactive behavior. Toddlers eventually grow out of these behaviors as they continue to develop and mature.

Connect With Your Toddler

Before parents can implement an appropriate behavioral intervention, they must garner their toddler’s attention. When past experiences define this goal as easier said than done, change your strategy. If your hyperactive toddler motors through her day at the speed of light, plan to ensure that you connect with her before attempting to slow her down, suggests the AskDr.Sears website. Connect with your toddler by positioning yourself at her eye level, and make physical contact by gently placing a hand on her shoulder.

Keep a Routine

Your toddler’s need for a routine does not change, although as she enters a new stage of childhood development, the routine changes to meet her needs. Posting a picture schedule of your toddler’s daily routine provides a strong visual cue that underscores your reminders that it is time to slow down for a snack, bath or nap. The schedule of expectations provides security for toddlers, who are discovering new aspects about their world on a daily basis, reports Zero to Three.

Use Simple Language

When you wish to redirect your toddler’s hyperactive behavior, do not attempt to engage her in an extended verbal dialogue. Remember that she continues to struggle with language and that she will process your requests best when you state them simply and concisely. Reminding your child that running through the produce aisle at the grocery store can be as simple and direct. For example, say to her, “I cannot permit you to run in the store because you may get lost or hurt. Would you help me select some baking potatoes and corn for supper?”

Offer an Appealing Alternative

When your toddler exhibits an unacceptable behavior such as excessive motor activity, you can increase the likelihood of reducing the frequency of this behavior when you offer at least one option your toddler finds attractive, according to Zero to Three. For example, if your toddler and the family pooch are racing around the living room at death-defying speeds, asking your toddler to join you on the sofa has limited appeal for her. However, if you ask your toddler to help you groom the doggie, she might want to help.

About the Author

Becky Swain's first publication appeared in the "Journal of Personality Assessment" in 1984. Her articles have also appeared on various websites. She is an adjunct college instructor, licensed school psychologist and educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science in clinical psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational psychology, both from Mississippi State University.

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