Tips for "over-active" 18 month old boys needed

Jen - posted on 10/24/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )

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It seems like I am the only mom chasing my kid around when we go to library/play groups. The other moms sit in the circle with their kids and their kids seem able to focus and content to stay and listen in one spot. My little guy seems to have an attention span of about 10 seconds and then runs away to explore something else that's caught his attention. I'm always chasing after him to bring him back to the circle (but he resists and fights) Is this normal? I feel like I'm the only mom that's going through this. He's always been really active (even in the womb) How do I get him to focus more? He seems to resist and kind of structure and just wants to explore what he want to explore?? Help!

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Kristen - posted on 10/24/2011

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I am happy to say I have a 4 1/2 year old who is a handful. When he was 18 months I was in the same situation. I appreciate it more now because he is 100% better. I have to agree with what Liz said, it sounds like this is not his thing right now. Save yourself anxiety and try getting a ball and some toys to the park and let him just run around. I would also tell you never worry about what other mom's are thinking most have been there and are sympathetic and the rest are not worth worrying about.

Kathleen - posted on 10/26/2011

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I find this very normal. Though frustrating for you, very normal. Just keep going to story time, even try sitting down with him, or at bed time reading a story. I took my son to gymboree, after a few sessions he'd sit still to find out what's next. Even try sitting with him at home at certain times and just coloring with him, or doing a puzzle, or pretend play with him. His attention span is normal and it will phase out to being a bit longer but it won't be for awhile. My son is now 3 and we still sometimes have issues with his attention span but he is far from ADHD as I did live with that with 2 siblings in my house growing up that were truely ADHD. About this age we even started flash cards, not so much to learn but to learn to sit still. We did animals at first as he was really into them, then colors and shapes, and now he must do dinosaurs. Just think of it this way, if you're not already going to a gym, you are getting a work out just by chasing him.

Loretta - posted on 10/26/2011

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I have a 2 1/2 yr old girl who is extremely active like that. At play groups, other children her age sit by their mothers like you said and my daughter runs in circles around the group. I am an older mom too--in my 40's, so she does wear me out! :) But what fun! I have an older daughter--18 yrs old--who started out very active like this, but is a totally normal focused young woman who did well in school and is working toward some amazing goals she set for herself. So this too shall pass. And someday you will miss it. ♥

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Cori - posted on 09/18/2013

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My son is the same way and is also 18 months old. He goes to a gymnastics class and a swim class (both for kids 15 mo-2 yrs). I find that he always has to be busy even when we are just hanging out at home. I stopped taking him to story time & just read to him myself. When he can no longer focus on the book we stop. He too has a very short attention span. I'd say take him to activities that don't require him to sit still.

[deleted account]

My daughter is now 4 years old and is still like that when I take her to story time, she's just a doer and there is definitely nothing wrong with that. I just let her do her thing unless she was distracting others, sometimes the playground is a better idea for an explorer. On the bright side now that my daughter is in preschool she is doing great, so don't worry about the future. To be honest I think we push structure a little too early. Have fun.

[deleted account]

I completely get what you are saying. It makes you feel kind of like you are a bad parent because other people get their kids to sit quietly and you can't. My son was full of energy from the time I was pregnant. He is constantly moving and can't sit still for more than 5 seconds. There is really not much you can do except I find routine helps, so he knows if we have dinner at 6 if he chooses not to eat then that's too bad he has to wait till snack before bed. Also, I try and give my son active play every day, on top of the 2 hours he gets at daycare. I'll bring him swimming, to the park, to the McDonald's playplace or even just for a walk. I find that helps a little bit

Leanna - posted on 03/29/2012

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Some kids are more active than others even as fetuses. Try to find ways for him to release his pent up energy in a constructive way.

Gillian - posted on 03/23/2012

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My son is exactly the same, never sits still, jumps and climbs on everything. Going out to the shops is mission impossible he insists on walking and ends up running all over the place and has a fit if I pick him up. All the other children seem to be so much calmer. Yes even in the womb, he would stretch himself so much that my round belly would end up looking more like a UFO

Nawa - posted on 11/08/2011

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No u are not alone ,i was like u and was thinking like u but i findout that lots of moms have the same . well my child is 3 years now and he still very active ,but he focus more than before ,i put him in paint class and dance class(he likes painting and dancing) and i think that's help him .find what ur child like more and try to make him do what he like to do ,it helps .try to not give any sugar (candy ,juice , chocolate,tea ) and give him more space to feel free to play ,explore ,run .... .good luck . (excuse my language)

Raisa - posted on 11/08/2011

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Sounds exactly like my son! LOL Nothing wrong with him, just sounds like an outgoing toddler! :)

Toshia - posted on 11/08/2011

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HAHAHA Oh my God how I loved reading this! Even with tears in my eyes just happy to think I am not alone! My son turned 3 in Sept. and he has been a pistol since day one. A Colic baby and an energetic, even sometimes NAUGHTY, toddler. I try and take it in stride and not let the sometimes looks of terror from other mothers get to me. Most of the time though I feel like THAT mom with THAT kid. I love my son and he is adorable. I wish there was a pause button sometimes but I am sure, although hard to imagine at times, one day I will miss these crazy days. Thanks for letting me know, however scarce these boys may be, that there are others out there :)

Heather - posted on 11/06/2011

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Maybe circle time isn't for him? Maybe he needs play groups at the park, or at your local McDonald's or Chick Fil A where he can run and play! What you are feeding him could also have to do with his hyperness...

It's totally normal, for now.

Chanel - posted on 11/01/2011

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Dont feel alone, my daughter is exactly the same!!! Unfortunatly i dont have any advise for you because i am gowing through the same thing, my daughter is 2 and a half and has always been hyper, i am just begining to accept that that is just who she is...a little busy body that cant sit still!!

Cherie - posted on 10/31/2011

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have fun he sounds like my son very on the go and into everything my son ended up with adha may not be the case with ur son but we could tell by 18 mos with mine even in a highchair he could not sit still and even sleeping he was all over his crib lol just take him to a park let him run the best thing to do if u have more then 1 try to find a highschool student who need hours and let them chase them and u watch ur other kid or if u have a backyard fix it up with toys for on the go kids balls ,nets ,bats, hockey sticks golf clubs any thing for running and their our new video games with bikes so he can peddle his way to a win while burning enegry lol hes going to run just find safe ways for him to do it their our more kids like him out their we just dont get to see them lol some moms dont want to take them out with their "bad behaviour" ( witch it is not ) just to much enegry hang with their what dont kill u will make u stronger

Anna - posted on 10/28/2011

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This is normal for an 18 month old. My son is also 18 mo and he's exactly the same. I'm a very physically active person myself so I'm happy that he is such an energizer bunny too. If you read, The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, you'll see that he compares toddlers to little cave men, they need to be out and about, act wild, and explore. Let him enjoy his freedom, there will be plenty of sittiing down at his desk time once he starts school.

Kristen - posted on 10/25/2011

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We started him 2 days a week when he was 3 1/2 and it was hard for him. This year he is there 3 days a week and it is like night and day he is focused, cooperative and listening. I had people tell me they thought he had ADHD at 2 and I worried but he is happy and healthy. Your son sounds curious and bright with a mind of his own. Just because he is not like everyone else does not mean there is a problem. People have opinions but you know your child most kids who are ADHD are not diagnosed until first grade.

[deleted account]

I'm hoping once he gets to school age he'll have a little more self control and discipline, as well as when are appropriate times to calm down. I'm trying to teach that in little ways now so I can hopefully increase it over the next few years. The one thing that gives me hope is everyone in my husband's family tells me he was just like that at my son's age, and now my husband is a very focused and task-oriented perfectionist, and though he can at times be quite a bonehead when it comes to the kids and me, he is truly one of the most intelligent, diligent people I know. He did get into a LOT of trouble growing up but that had a lot to do with his upbringing and, from what I hear, lack of proper discipline and structure. I can see already that my son is extremely bright and bold for his age. People are always telling me, in amazement, how smart he is. So I'm hoping the case with my son, and yours, is that maybe they are just so eager to take on the world and accomplish themselves and maybe their minds are moving faster than their development?

Jen - posted on 10/25/2011

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@ Kristin - is your 4 1/2 year old able to focus now in school? This is my biggest concern as others are saying to us already he's got toddler adhd....??

Jen - posted on 10/25/2011

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Thanks Nicole and Michelle...glad I'm not the only one (although I certainly feels like it in all our play groups:(
Are you ladies concerned about their focus once they get to school?

Michelle - posted on 10/25/2011

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you are so not alone. My 'little one does not sit still for 2 seconds. I'm always running after him and chasing him. I feel your pain

[deleted account]

Wow you have just described life for my son and me! He just turned two last week, and I've often felt like the only parent chasing my kid around constantly. He's not bad, just always on the move, trying to explore EVERYTHING. A couple weeks ago we went to a bday party at a gymnastics place. Some kids were older than him, but I'd say about half a dozen were right around his age, and still he stuck out like a sore thumb! From across the room we could see that everything they did there was my little guy going the opposite way full force, and having a ball at it! When cake time came, all the kids sat down and waited in their chairs, while mine ran around the room, or stood on his chair and banged on windows, or took off out the door to the parking lot! And he was the only child doing this. As others have said here, I've always thought this behavior was pretty normal for his age, but then when I see him around other kids his age and NONE of them act like that I think---IS it normal? Why don't those kids all (or ANY of them) act like this if it's normal? So you are not alone, I can totally empathize with you!! So far I haven't found a way to make him focus more, because what I've realized is he's already very focused...on HIS agenda. I don't know if you son is the same or if it's a more scattered sort of running around but for my son I've learned that he is always intent on whatever he's doing and generally not much can deter him so as long as it's not totally inappropriate I try to let him explore the world at his own pace and direction...which happens to be lightning speed and against the grain! Haha. And I just try to shut out any disapproving glances from others who seem to think he should sit quietly. If I allow him as much freedom as is reasonably possible in every situation I think it helps him be a little more compliant in those situations when he truly should be restrained.

Jen - posted on 10/24/2011

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Ha Ha Ha - thanks! I feel like all of mom's are laughing (and thinking...my gosh...that little boys a hand ful!) He does love music at home, it's when we go somewhere new, he seems to want to 100% explore all surroundings before he can settle??

Jen - posted on 10/24/2011

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LOL - He is and I love him to pieces...just a little worried that he cannot focus like other kids his age do. I'm hoping this is a phase...did you have this problem with yours?

[deleted account]

He sounds really cute. :) I can't help laughing, I'm sorry.



Maybe music/songs/listening just isn't his thing right now?

Jen - posted on 10/24/2011

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No - they are all around the same age. My little guy go to the art tables and pulls the table cloths off, goes to radio to turn volume up, then tries to run out of room/etc...I feel like we miss the entire 1/2 hour program. The group is focus on the songs/play together and my little guys got another agenda....

[deleted account]

Are the other kids older than him? Because this doesn't sound like abnormal behavior for a 18-month-old. :)

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