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How to Calm Hyperactive Children

By Kristine Tucker ; Updated April 18, 2017
Help hyperactive children calm down with low-key activities.

As a parent of a hyperactive child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, you must develop strategies to help him calm down when he's agitated or overly excited. Creating a friendly, quiet space will help him learn to relax and focus on something constructive. According to Children's Health Network, 80 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls with attention problems are also hyperactive. Children who suffer from hyperactivity often feel restless and impulsive and need a peaceful environment to settle down so they can concentrate.

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Prepare a quiet space in your house, such as a reading room, that provides a relaxing retreat for your child. Play soothing music, such as classical music or children's lullabies, to help her calm down. The music creates a peaceful, cozy atmosphere. Place soft chairs, such as beanbags or over-sized pillows, in the room so your child has a comfortable place to rest. Place an assortment of reading books, picture books, puzzles and coloring books in the room to keep your child busy and quiet, recommends the Health Central website. Avoid placing noisy battery-operated toys, electronics and toys with wheels in the quiet space.

Change out the books, puzzles and coloring pages every week to prevent boredom. Use a timer or a clock to help your child transition from one activity to another, according to Parents.com. For example, allow your child to play with puzzles for 10 minutes and when the timer goes off, tell him it's reading time and you're going to read aloud to him. You don't have to stay with your child the entire time he's in the quiet space, but make sure you spend a good portion of the time with him.

Give your child a piece of gum or a quiet toy to manipulate if she's too fidgety to enjoy the quiet retreat area, suggests clinical psychologist Robert Olivardia in an article on PsychCentral. Hyperactive children often need something to get their mind off their jittery hands and feet. Chewing gum or playing with a small quiet toy can help them transition from more assertive activities to the quiet area without feeling frustrated or anxious.

Encourage your child to leave the peaceful, quiet space once he tires of the books and games and gets restless. The goal is to help your child view the quiet area as an enjoyable place not a punishment. Praise your child for his calm, attentive behavior.

Things You Will Need

  • Music
  • Puzzles
  • Books
  • Coloring pages
  • Timer or clock


Engage in outdoor activities, such as walking or bike riding, to help your hyperactive child. Children often feel more relaxed after they exercise.

Always model control and calmness, using a matter-of-fact tone, so your child sees that you avoid loud, aggressive behavior.


Consult a pediatrician or a child psychologist if your attempts to calm your hyperactive child are ineffective. You don't want him to get hurt from being too aggressive or rambunctious.

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About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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