My toddler is known at church for how active he is and how he runs from one thing to another. I love how active he is, it's who he is and it really is fun but sometimes it's frustrating when he doesn't just sit down and focus on a project for just a few minutes. I've tried every trick in the book for getting him to focus; from buckling him into the booster seat to yelling to bribery. I have learned a few tricks along the way that help him to focus on a project but he still doesn't sit and listen every single time--- he is a toddler after all.
tips for getting your hyperactive
toddler to focus
1 - Be Patient and Calm
I am normally very patient but postpartum depression has made me extremely impatient with my two-year-old and when I’m anxious and easily frustrated by him, it makes him upset and there’s no way he’ll focus on a project. It takes practice to be patient with a hyperactive toddler, they just want to go from one thing to another as fast as they can and as adults that’s hard for us to understand. But it really is hard for them to slow down. The more patient and calm we are, the more patient and calm they will be. Check out these verses for parents of active toddlers (hint: they're focused around patience).
2 - Keep Trying
My son does best if we work on projects for short spurts of time with breaks in between. If they don’t follow directions the first time, try again in an hour after they’ve been able to get some play time in. This goes back to number one, you have to be patient and keeping trying with them. The more you try, the more they learn to sit and focus on one thing. I saw a huge change for the better as soon we started doing tot school last year. Having dedicated projects to do, helped my son to focus better but often we had to start and stop until he got the hang of things.
3 - Keep Distractions at a Minimum
Just to get my son to focus on eating his dinner we have to make sure the TV is of, his favorite toys are out of his line of sight, and we have to make sure that there are no centerpieces on the table because he’ll just want to play with that and not eat.
4 - Keep Things Fun + Interesting
Make sure you are giving your toddler activities that are at their skill level and include things they enjoy. William will do anything if dinosaurs or Lightening McQueen is involved. And if a project is too hard he will become easily frustrated and easily distracted.
5 - Give Them Freedom Too
Children thrive in structure but it’s important to remember to give them freedom too. Because William is so hyperactive and independent, he tends to do best when he’s doing his own thing. The majority of our day is basically free time for him, he can play in the playroom on his little slide or line up his Hot Wheels or read books. He’s happiest when we let him do his thing and having that freedom to do what he wants really does help him focus better when we sit down to do a tot school activity. I think it just gives him a chance to do all the things that are running through his head so he’s not distracted by them when we start a project.
Everyday is a battle to get him to focus just long enough to eat a meal but applying these tricks does help. Remember to just keep trying, giving in and giving up won't help anyone, it takes perseverance to parent a toddler. It's only a season and someday they won't be toddlers anymore and you'll actually miss the crazy toddler years (or so I'm told).
Do you have any other tips for getting your hyperactive toddler to focus?!
One of the other big things that has helped William learn to focus has been doing tot school activities with him. Tot school is basically intentional play and crafting to entertain and educate your toddler. I actually really enjoy planning themed activities for us (in elementary school I was a super nerd and would make lesson plans just for sheer enjoyment (kind of like my obsession with schedules)) even though it takes a lot of time to research and plan it all.
Then, one day I thought, "Hey, I like planning and doing tot school so much, why don't I come up with a way to share tot school plans with other mamas who want to intentionally educate their toddlers but don't know how or don't have the time to plan?!" Enter Little City Tot School.
Little City Tot School
Little City Tot School is a monthly service that plans your tot school activities so you can spend more 1:1 time with your toddler; teaching them, playing with them, and teaching them about Jesus. Every month you will get a list of 7 activities (along with instructions) for each week based around a theme, a different Bible story for each week, a list of apps, books, and movies that match the week's theme, and tips for how to intentionally educate your toddler as you go about your day.
I'll give you ways to teach your toddler basic skills like the alphabet and numbers everyday and then you'll have an activity to do each day based on that week's theme. It's more than just activities, Little City Tot School is about being intentional with your toddler 24/7. You'll even be able to chat with the other moms who are doing the same tot school activities. Oh, and William and I will be doing the same activities alongside you, so you know it's gonna be good! I think it's also important to note that the activities I will have planned for you won't make you go broke. When you sign up for tot school you'll receive a shopping list of supplies to get, many you will probably already have at home and almost all of them can be purchased at the dollar store. We live on a budget too and since we're doing the activities with you, you can know that the activities will be budget friendly.
Does Little City Tot School sound cool to you? Little City Tot School is now open for enrollment and begins the first week of January, so you can start your New Year off right! I can't wait for you to join me in this awesome community of mamas who want to intentional teach their toddlers.