Parenting Your Spirited Child – Essential Baby

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Parenting an active child can be quite the challenge. Keeping up with them (particularly if you have another baby on the way), keeping them entertained and keeping your home in one piece all become daily battles.

But above all, the biggest challenge, is dealing with the disapproving looks and comments from others.
The thing about “spirited” children is that they don’t stop: they are constantly whizzing about, on to the next thing, using up every bit of energy they have.
They’re not good at sitting still on public transport, during story time at the library or in doctor’s waiting rooms. They don’t wait patiently in queues at the supermarket. They don’t want to hold your hand to walk down the street, they want to run, full pelt, as fast as their little legs will carry them.
Children with high energy levels and lust for constant activity and can bring many ‘tuts’ and looks of displeasure. We often feel under pressure to keep our child under control.
I suppose that for parents with less active children it might look like your parenting skills were remiss and you are simply letting them run amok. Parenting expert Dr Karen Phillip says that when you have a “spirited” child, the best cause of action is to let them be as active as possible. “Allow the child to run, jump – play can aid them in burning up some energy,” she says.
Dr Phillip notes that trying to force an active child to stop moving and sit still is pointless. “It can essentially make a child expand their energy level if they are fighting to reverse your restriction,” she says. If you find yourself in a situation where sitting still and being quiet are essential, attending a wedding, for example, Dr Phillips suggests that the best option might be leaving your active child with a babysitter. If that isn’t possible, she gives the following advice: “Ensure you can remove the child to burn up their energy so as not to infringe on the event.
You can also give them small time frames to sit, such as counting on your fingers to 10 – it needs to be visual for them.” Dr Phillip says that parents of very active or “spirited” children will find it easier to cope if they accept that children are children. And as for the disapproving looks and ‘tuts’ from others, she recommends this tactic: “Simply smile back to the judging person and say ‘I bet you feel lucky you don’t have such an active little one as I do’ and smile.”
Read full article by Catherine Rodie at