At a glance
Kids with extra energy can thrive when given more active chores.
It’s important to model the way you want the chore done.
Doing active chores around the house can boost a hyperactive child’s self-esteem.
Some kids seem to have endless get-up-and-go. When it comes to household chores, this can be a good thing. If your child has extra energy, try out some of these chores and activities. They can help your hyperactive child get more involved in family time — and burn off that extra energy.
Raking leaves and shoveling snow
As temperatures dip during the autumn months, even active kids might need a little push to get moving outside. Raking leaves and loading them into bags can be a very physical activity. It’s also a great chance to get your child outdoors and using extra energy.
Make sure to show your child exactly how to rake the leaves either into one bigger pile or maybe smaller, more manageable ones. And don’t forget the fun. Before loading the leaves into bags or disposing of them, make time for running, jumping, and diving into leaf piles.
Once winter hits, kids with extra energy can shovel snow. Again, be sure to show your child how to do the shoveling (lift with the knees so as not to injure the back). After clearing the snow from the driveway — and especially if your child still has some steam, ask neighbors if they need help with shoveling. Or if you live where there are sidewalks, you can ask your child to tackle those.
In warmer months, gardening can provide the perfect exercise for your child. For example, younger kids can dig in the dirt, pull weeds, or plant new seeds. Most kids also love watering plants. Older kids can prune back bushes (if you’re comfortable with them using pruning shears). And if you live in an apartment building, your child might enjoy tending to window boxes or helping out in a community garden.
Washing the car
Washing the car is another high-energy chore. To prevent this task from becoming a splashy and soapy mess, though, model what you’d like your child to do. Start by hosing down the car, using a sponge with car wash soap, rinsing the soap off, and then drying the car with fresh towels. Once your child has practiced with you a few times, you can hand over the reins and cross one more thing off your own to-do list.
Playing with pets
Pets need a lot of exercise just like kids do. That’s why walking the dog or playing fetch with a family pet can be a great chore for a hyperactive child. If your child is old enough, you can ask them to take the dog to the park to play with other dogs. If you have a cat, your child can use a flashlight, a laser pointer, or some string to get the cat moving around. When your child is playing with an animal, be sure that the pet isn't getting overly excited or agitated.
Cleaning the house
Sweeping floors, mopping, dusting, and vacuuming are great alternatives to sit-down chores like peeling vegetables or sorting laundry. Helping bring in the groceries is another good way to focus your child’s extra pep — especially if the task involves climbing up and down stairs or helping you sort things that need to go in the fridge versus the cupboards.
Successfully completing any of the above tasks can help build your child’s self-esteem. Find out other reasons why doing chores can help kids who learn and think differently.
More active chores are better for hyperactive kids than sit-down tasks.
Make sure you show your child exactly how you want the chore done before you pass it off.
When kids help actively around the house, they burn off extra energy and feel like part of the family team.
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About the author
About the author
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Molly Algermissen, PhD is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.