Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Teaching very active little children

Little children are made active and busy but some are more active and busy than others.

This is about teaching the more active types! My only right to write about this is that I have one of these active children and one of my older children was also very busy as a young child. I am not talking about children with a medical diagnosis. 

These busy little people are lovely and lovable but tiring.

These are my assumptions:
  • This is a phase of childhood. It will, to some extent, get better with time. It isn't fair to expect a four year old to spend as long writing as his brother who is almost a decade older.
  • Active, wriggly children need to learn to sit still to work but this isn't going to happen very quickly.
  • The very active, wriggly types tend to be little boys.
I love these busy little people but they are hard work. Not needing much sleep has been a feature of both of mine and that is tiring. 

  • Loads of exercise. My busy child can't sleep without sufficient exercise. This usually means going outside every day. We don't worry too much about the weather provided there isn't a severe weather warning!

  • Multi-sensory learning which doesn't require keeping still all the time. We chalk letters, make letters in the sand in the park, use a multi-sensory phonics programme, cook with geography, history and maths, do science experiments and so on. 

  • Read aloud-this sounds strange but has been really, really important. Our very active children have been obvious from a very young age:weeks to months of age. This wasn't a surprise aged four. Reading aloud from babyhood has helped these children love some quieter time, improved their vocabularies and aided their attention spans. Both of these children have sat still and looked at picture books. I haven't allowed moving around while I read unless I'm reading to an older sibling. As their concentration increases, I increase the number of books read-this hasn't been difficult to achieve.

  • Sufficient hands on activities at home. Home education does mean more free time. There isn't any travel time to and from school or nursery or collecting siblings. We have found that a wooden train set, puzzles, Duplo, Meccano and a model garage are helpful tools in keeping busy people happy and occupied. They also lead to many fascinating discussions and drawings.

Does this work? Hmm-sample size of two makes this difficult. If you see my current active child after a time of still concentration, you might wonder. 

There are other people with busy boys. These websites have many ideas for just this population!

The book Homegrown preschooler has a positive attitude to teaching these children at home and many helpful ideas.

My Pinterest board, Home ed for little ones has pins with ideas for this type of child.

Do you have any very active children? Any helpful tips?

This is linked to a Schoohouse Crew blog cruise called Teaching the chatty wriggly child.


  1. My five year old is very active, talks constantly and has a very poor attention span. Her brain works much like mine and is busy thinking all the time and she also needs very little sleep.
    We found limiting screen time to 30 mins a day was very helpful as any more than that was perpetuating her attention issues. We don't have broadcast tv so we used pop on a dvd. Now I look for short dvd's that are half an hour or less.

    1. Interesting-I've found that screen time at the end of the afternoon seems to make things worse. Will have to check as our little one loves Reading Eggs and often uses this in the morning. The last couple of days, he slept well and had virtually no screen time.

  2. I found your post on Growing Home's Teach Me Tuesday. I have 3 very active children, a boy and 2 girls. I have friends whose children are the quiet, sit still and play for a long time with one thing... The rare occasion that my children do that I know they're sick :) Everything you said was true! They need lots of exercise and activity, both during school and the rest of the day too! And if you can keep them busy with good activities, they will get in a lot less trouble ;) Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for visiting. I know the "if they are quiet then they must be ill" feeling. It is encouraging to know that there are other people out there with very active children.