What to Do for Restless Children

Is your child almost incapable of sitting still and paying attention for even a moment? In this article we'll provide tips to consider to help open up their potential.
What to Do for Restless Children
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 23 November, 2022

Many parents wonder if they have restless children. Today there is a tendency to label children with a disorder as soon as they move a little more than “normal.”

However, some people often say that you should worry when you see a quiet child. Activity in children isn’t only natural, but also healthy.

We’ll take a look at this topic below.

Not all restless children have a hyperactivity disorder

If you have ever wondered whether your child seems too restless, you must first differentiate between a hyperactive, active and even mischievous child.

Fortunately, today we have a lot of very detailed and accurate information about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, with the increase in diagnosis that has occurred in recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has undertaken the task of pointing out some behaviors that may indicate a child experiences this disorder:

  • Difficulty paying attention to tasks that don’t have an immediate reward or that don’t provide a high level of stimulation.
  • Little attention to detail and inability to sustain a mental effort.
  • Easily distracted and don’t pay attention when speaking directly to them.
  • Forgetful and often lose things.
  • Difficulty planning.

“Inattention may not seem evident when the individual engages in tasks that provide intense stimulation and frequent rewards.”


  • Too much motor activity and difficulty remaining still.
  • Impulsive. They don’t think about the consequences of their actions or opinions.
  • Show difficulty waiting for their turn in conversations, games or other activities.
What to Do for Restless Children

My child seems very restless and I don’t know what to do

Children have a lot of energy, and that’s fine. Sometimes, we don’t know how to help them channel that energy properly. They need a way to vent, understanding and a good set of boundaries.

However, it’s true that some children have an excess of energy that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of hyperactivity. In these cases, take into account certain considerations.

A lot of communication

Restless children really need to know what’s going to happen next. In general, all children have some level of anxiety about not knowing what will happen. That’s why they benefit so much from routines.

Active children require you to communicate their day-to-day lives, to have a strict hold on their habits and to kindly repeat all the steps they must follow.

Very clear limits

When children don’t have clear boundaries, they feel lost. This causes them to feel nervous and insecure. The rules must be firm but comprehensive. You cannot constantly change the rules or hesitate to ask your child to comply.

You represent your child’s greatest support

Children need you close and to trust you in order to head toward independence without losing your love.

It’s normal for you to sometimes not want to stay with them while they fall asleep, or that you feel like you don’t have the time to snuggle them in your arms to calm them down, but it’s very necessary.

A customized environment

Children love to feel useful. Their energy helps them to collaborate in domestic tasks depending on their age.

Add a step stool to the kitchen so they can help you beat the eggs or prepare their snack. Also, leave toys and books within their reach so they can develop their independence.


Nobody knows your child better than you, so be aware of their warning signs. If you know sugar stimulates them a little too much, avoid giving these treats.

On the other hand, if you know that your child will feel agitated after a party, take a little time when it’s over and give them a hot bath and a massage to calm their mood.

What to Do for Restless Children

The activities they need

Your children have to be able to shed that extra energy. Therefore, take them to the park and let them run, climb, jump and enjoy the outdoors as often as you can. In this sense, a sport can help you a lot when it comes to channeling their energy.

In addition, restless children also feel very good sitting for a few minutes to do activities that demand their attention and develop their fine motor skills. Examples include puzzles, play dough, construction games, finger painting, etc.

Finally, practice some relaxation techniques with them. Children usually participate if you do a good job explaining what it entails. When they begin to notice how well they feel while doing it, they’ll ask for it themselves.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.