Some children are just more active, enthusiastic, and bouncy than average. They are spirited like an intense ball of energy. Unfortunately, the high amount of energy these children have gets in their own way, hindering their ability to accomplish things. It is challenging for an overactive child to complete tasks that demand patience and alertness. Reading is one such activity that requires a calm mind and attention. But by harnessing the child’s high energy in a positive, mindful manner, they can become an avid reader, incredibly creative and productive.
Who is an overactive child?
A child who possesses more energy than most children of their age is considered an overactive child. The unique characteristics of an overactive child are as follows:
- The child is a ball of energy.
The child has excess energy that makes her or him fidget. Due to this high level of energy, she or he has low concentration levels. The child gets distracted easily and is unable to complete the task at hand.
- The child has a wandering mind.
As the concentration span is shorter, the child tends to get lost in her or his thoughts. As a consequence, she or he has weak listening skills.
- The child is over-enthusiastic.
As an overactive child contains high energy, she or he is impulsive, zealous and likes to do everything faster.
- The child has a higher emotional range.
An overactive child experiences a higher range of emotions in a shorter time than other children. She or he goes through sadness, worry, restlessness, happiness, and excitement in a small amount of time.
7 ways to Read to overactive children
If your child is (indeed) overactive, you can conduct constructive reading sessions with your child by following these tips:
- Reading sessions conducted after outdoor activity.
A simple walk amidst nature or an hour-long swimming session will help to burn out the excess energy in your child’s body. Moreover, physical activities stimulate the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that are crucial for impulse control, learning, focus, and attention. You can also make reading a part of the morning and night-time ritual when the child is feeling all relaxed.
2. Create a warm and welcoming book nook!
Ambience plays a significant role in setting up the mood. Therefore, create a reading environment for your child which is devoid of distractions. Place different books, stationery and indoor plants in the reading corner to make it inviting. Design the corner in a way that it radiates warmth. Or maybe build a reading tent in the designated space with lots of couch pillows (Eric Carle’s pillows, Book Nook pillows) for relaxing reading session/s.
The key is to create a warm and welcoming space with limited distractions possible. The space got to be inviting for the child and parent (both).
3. Play some soothing music in the background!
Instrumental music lowers energy levels and regulates emotions. Exposing your child to such music can help her or him to calm down. Your child might associate reading with music and consider them as pleasant activities that go hand in hand.
4. Direct your child’s excess energy into activities accompanying reading!
Kinesthetic learning is the best form of learning for an overactive child. If your child starts fidgeting and they are losing interest, engage them in activities like
- Enacting a character from the book.
- Raise their curiosity by asking them to predict the story.
- Make props or portraits or bookmarks of the characters and utilize them during the reading sessions to enhance the reading experience.
This way, you gain your child’s undivided attention to the reading session as you convert the passive act of reading to an active act of role-playing.
5. Begin with the easy stuff!
Always begin with easy and short books. Since an overactive child struggles with focusing on a larger span, she or he will feel motivated to have completed the book. It encourages a feeling of accomplishment and boosts your child’s confidence. Once the reading habit is in place, gradually move to books of higher level.
6. Chapter books over picture books
Being mindful in the book selection is crucial. Chapter books with more words work better over the picture books. Children who have difficulty focusing find it challenging to sit down still with a book and read. So, let them BE, let them wiggle and bounce the extra energy out, and you keep reading. Remember, they are still listening while bouncing around; they still hear the words.
7. Be patient with your child.
It is easy to get frustrated and annoyed by a spirited child’s energy. In most cases, the first reading attempt is a failure. Practice patience when you read to your child. Do not hesitate to read the same book twice or thrice, multiple times. Remember to see an overactive child’s energy as a positive thing and embrace them just as they are. I genuinely have a soft spot for overactive children.
Consider these tips as a few ideas to formulate a customised reading plan for your overactive child. Children who have difficulty focusing find it challenging to sit down still with a book and read. So let them BE sometimes, let them wiggle and bounce the energy out and remember they are still listening while bouncing around. And don’t forget to compliment your child on having completed a reading session successfully. Encourage interactive reading sessions with your child and help her/him participate with enthusiasm and vigour. Through these efforts, you would raise an inquisitive reader in no time.
I wish you a beautiful bonding time while reading to your child and rooting for you dear parent that all your reading sessions happen with ease!
Read. Raise. Rise.