Just for Teachers: 5 Great Ways to Help Hyperactive Kids Learn
With these fun teaching techniques, you can get hyperactive students to focus all that energy in the right direction.
Do hyperactive kids drive you a little crazy in the classroom? Most teachers would say yes. Hyperactive students are demanding, but does that mean you give up on them? Of course not!
When you approach hyperactive students the right way, it can turn into a beautiful experience of mutual motivation and respect.
Hyperactive kids simply need more attention. Most children are active by nature, but hyperactive kids are always on the move, bouncing from one activity to another. They have trouble paying attention to lessons when you use traditional teaching methods.
That’s why you need to introduce other strategies that will engage hyperactive students on their own level. The good news is that these methods make the teaching process more fun, too.
1. Teach Them How to Relax
Mindfulness in schools may sound like mutually exclusive concept, but many teachers have experienced its benefits. Recent research found that mindfulness programs and techniques deliver beneficial results in the classroom. A high school from New York introduced a yoga program in 2016. The students who participated had a significantly higher GPA compared to the group of students who didn’t practice yoga.
It’s not just about the grades. Another research study among high school students showed that yoga helped students’ control their emotions.
Mindfulness means being in the present moment, without attachment or judgment. For a hyperactive child, it means sensing the current situation in their body and mind, and making peace with it.
Mindfulness is usually achieved through meditation techniques. Meditation trains the mind to set aside distractions and be present in the current moment. If you think your students are too young or too inattentive for meditation, you can start with simple breathing and relaxation techniques. They also lead to a focused state of mind.
- First, you have to know how to implement relaxation and breathing in a classroom. Find a good instructor in your area and take a few classes. Talk to them about teaching relaxation and breathing techniques to children. Perhaps invite them into the classroom, so they can lead a brief relaxation session.
- Combine the relaxation technique with positive visual imagery. Many athletes rely on visualization to improve their performance. Since you’re dealing with hyperactive students, tell them to imagine a calming scene, such as a garden, beach, or a quiet forest.
2. Encourage Hands-On Learning
Hyperactive students learn best when they are engaged in the process. You cannot expect them to sit calmly at their desk, listen to the lecture, and take a test. That’s too challenging for them. Doing is always better than listening, so you can transform their doing into a learning activity.
- Have them to draw illustrations for a book that’s part of the curriculum. That’s a good way to teach essay writing and storytelling.
- Speaking of essays, connect your students with professional writers who can provide step-by-step guidance that engages them in the process of writing.
- Teachers often advise parents to practice hands-on learning with their children. Why not take your own advice? Instead of teaching science in the classroom, find science outside the classroom walls now and then. Taking your class to the park may test your patience, but if you organize the field trip well, you can get your students learning while they explore.
3. Allow Them to Move
Hyperactive children, by definition, have trouble staying put. It is torture for them stay at their desk too long. These students are kinesthetic learners. That’s not a bad thing. It’s an opportunity for you to introduce fresh methods into your educational routines that address that learning style.
- When teaching a history lesson, turn it into an acting project. Each student gets a role, and they act out scenes from the lesson. You can be the narrator, introducing dates and facts into the drama. It will be much easier for them to remember the information when they learn it through active play.
- When you want to ask something, gently toss a ball to the student instead of addressing him or her by name. It’s a simple activity that adds fun to discussions.
- After half an hour of sitting at their desks, reward your students by inviting them to stand up, stretch, and engage in a one-minute dance break.
4. Teach Them to Be Useful
Hyperactive children want and need to move around. Channel that need into a useful activity. Cleaning, to be precise.
Encourage your students to be responsible for cleaning the classroom. Teach them that it’s normal part of the school day.
Say: “Hey, let’s clean the classroom together!” Make it a call to action. You can divide them into groups: one group will clean the desks, the other group will collect garbage from the floor, and the third group will organize classroom items. Rotate the groups throughout the month, so everyone will get to do everything.
These simple chores give your kids a sense of responsibility, and it will burn up some excess energy in the process. The end result? The students will be calmer for the rest of the day.
5. Create Your Own Reward System
You can’t expect all your students to be motivated and exhibit a desire to learn whatever you throw at them. However, you can encourage and persuade your students to want to learn.
- Jump-start their motivation by offering tangible rewards. Give away diplomas, stickers, or healthy treats as the prize. Tangible rewards deliver immediate results, and they give the students something to focus on.
- However, don’t get them too used to earning prizes for doing schoolwork. Genuine positive feedback is also nice. When hyperactive students behave well, even if it’s just for a single class, praise them for the achievement.
Whichever method you decide to use, remember: Hyperactive kids are just kids. They cannot be serious and follow instructions all the time. The first step toward solving the problem is simple: The teacher should stop being too serious. With fun teaching techniques, you can lead hyperactive students to focus all that energy in the right direction.