How to Handle Hyperactive Kids

by Doug Hewitt

Hyperactive kids can sometimes be difficult to identify. While there are obvious cases of children behaving in hyperactive ways, young kids can have short attention spans and act impulsively. For example, in a classroom in which a subject in being taught that a child considers boring, the child may understandably become inattentive and easily distracted. On the other hand, some kids may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and the hyperactivity may be more obvious. When confronted with situations requiring the handling of hyperactive kids, you can take steps to make the task more manageable.

Step 1

Set rules that are simple and can be easily understood. This helps the child understand what behavior is acceptable and what is not. The rules should also include clear consequences for what happens when the rules are broken.

Step 2

Remind the children of the consequences of a rule that is being broken or about to be broken. Avoid repeating the warning, though. The child is reminded of the consequences, and the rule must be enforced for the child to understand behavioral consequences.

Step 3

Apply the disciplinary consequences for broken rules before becoming frustrated or angry. This can help you to deal long-term with the hyperactive kid without becoming emotionally distraught.

Step 4

Give verbal praise when rules are followed. The praise should come while the rule is being followed or soon after so that the child can more closely associate the praise with the desired behavior. Vary the words used for praise so that it doesn't sound scripted or repetitive.


  • For older children, a written behavioral contract can be effective in helping the children understand the seriousness of the behavioral issue. It can also make consequences and rewards clearly understood.
  • Use tokens that can be redeemed for desired purchases as rewards for older children. This can help reinforce how a desired behavior needs to be followed over longer periods of time.
  • Removing distractions can be helpful in some situations in keeping hyperactive children focused on the activity at hand.


  • Hyperactive kids can lead to frustration, which in turn can lead to anger.

About the Author

Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."

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