12 answers

Need Some Advice on a Hyper 2 Year Old

Hi Moms
I have a 2 year old daughter that is very hyper and overactive. She is taking tantrums alot and she is also hitting me. I have started putting her in time outs (in her crib the only place she will sit still) when she does this and I explain to her why she is in there. She is talking just a little and people have said that when she is talking she should calm down. Also she is not the best sleeper she goes down for bed at 7:30 and wakes at 5:45 and does not slow down for most of the day so I'm sure some of it is because she is tired when she does nap it's for 2 hours and I try to keep her schedule the same everyday but some days she sleeps and some days she won't so even if she is not sleeping I will leave her in the crib for quiet time but she always cries and gets out of the crib. Also she does not seem to have interest in any one toy she has a lot of them and I do rotate them. She will play with something and then just start throwing all the pieces everywhere and I tell her to calm down and I show her how to use the toys and play with her and she throws a tantrum it's the same with books I sit on the floor and start reading and she takes it out of my hand and throws it. And when we go to the playground she won't hold my hand she just starts running and screaming (a happy scream) she just seems to do what she wants and if I try to help her or take another toy away from her she throws awful tantrums. I am at my wits end any and all advice would be a great help.

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AAHHH... L., Please do not try to assess your daughter for ADHD as another person responded. I am a clinician and we would NEVER diagnose a 2 yr old with ADHD. All 2 year olds would qualify for this!! It would be so dangerous to already try to label your daughter at this young age. And what would you do anyway? You certainly would not medicate a 2yo! I hope that the other advice you received was helpful and a bit more on track. Good luck!!

I dont know your daughter, but to me she just sounds like a normal two year old - not a "hyper" or "overactive" one. That's just from what you've described though. I have a two year old daughter myself (and an almost 4 year old son that recently went through the "terrible twos") and what you are describing actually sounds normal. If you dont like her waking at 5:45 (ie if its too early for you) push her bedtime out. My kids go to bed at 9 and wake at 7. So same amount of sleep, but better (for me) wake up time. As for behavior, she is doing what she is supposed to be doing - testing you. That's what this age is about. Learning to be more independent and learning what the rules and boundaries are. So you just need to do your part, as you are, and show her the rules and boundaries. Its HARD. I know! But be firm. Continue the time outs. Not sure if the crib is the best place as then she might associate going to bed with time outs/punishment. We have a chair in the kitchen we use. And yes, she tries to get out. When she does, we sit there and firmly but gently hold her there while making no eye contact (so she's not getting attention, just learning she must stay). So be firm on the time outs - just last weekend we had to give our daughter one at a playground - put her screaming and kicking into the car and closed the door and we stayed outside. Also help her with the independence thing - give her options when you can - do you want this cup or this one, do you want this shirt today or this one. Dont give her 100 choices - too overwhelming - just two. Gives them a small sense of control, which is what they want. Anyway, I feel your pain - I'm there too! It will get better!!!!

Call your local Early Intervention to assess her language skills, if that is a concern. If her language is delayed and she is frustrated, that can be a big source of tantrums. As for the high energy, give her plenty of outlets (playgrounds, gym class, swimming, etc.) and set consistent limits. If you are doing something like playing with a quiet toy or reading a book, just expect her to do it for a very short time, praise her for her efforts, tell her you had fun, etc., then try to build from there. Good luck!!!

You may want to examine her diet. Make sure it's all natural with no preservatives and food coloring or high fructose corn syrup. It can be tough to make the change, but it's worth it!

I have a hyper 3 year old boy...who's been hyper since I was pregnant with him.

I've learned that, what works best for my son and I, was to stick to a schedule. I don't mean that your daughter has to eat at 12:00 on the dot everyday or your a bad mom...but wake her at the same time every morning...put her down for a nap everyday at the same time (lay down with her if you must to get her to nap, naps are important at their age)...lunch at the same time...that kind of stuff.

Be stern with the discipline. If you don't get the hyper-ness under control now at a young age...you're going to end up with many problems with her in the future. Especially if you're trying for another baby. Once the new baby comes, your daughter should be well behaved or you're going to have chaos in your house.

Easier said than done, I know. But I feel your pain with the hyper child...it's tiresome. Good luck with everything.


First I want you to know your not alone. My son is 12 now and I knew in the womb he had ADHD like myself and his father. It's a tough stuggle but TV was my sons calm time. I hate TV, despise TV but a Mom needs time to breathe and have some down time. Especially from children that are hyper.
I'm still looking for what works. The best thing I have come up with is when I say somethings going to happen...it happens! No questions asked. I learned fairly quick not to make promises I wouldn't want to keep and would completely follow through on. If you don't follow through they learn quickly that Moms a push over. So stick to your guns.
I learned always keeping things strict helped. My son and I know we love eachother and no one can make me lose it like him. He knows every button to push and PUSHES hard. When I brake he knows it's bad. If I keep at a place where he can't and wont push, we're good.
It's hard, very hard. There are days I just want to cry and when I see the schools # on the phone the tears are ready to start before I answer it. I have to remind myself often that God gave me this child and not someone else for a reason. So I look to Him for strength and courage to go on. I also look to my parents, his fathers parents and any "elder" I can that has been there before me.
Your daughter is too young but I was completely against meds until I gave in. I still hate them but it helps us all get through the day a bit easier. So when the time comes, seek out all opinions. There is something called pediacalm in a health food store and it works for a lot of kids, my sons ADHD is very severe so it's not as effective. Search all your options, do your research because although not allowed when she gets to school the teachers will push it. Maybe not until 4th grade or 6th grade. Some kids grow out of it. Lets pray yours is one.
I will pray for you because it's needed for every parent...not just those of us with "problem" children.
God Bless.

Hi L.,

First, I send you my love and caring, which you need because you're in such a difficult situation. I have to say that reading your letter threw me back to my childhood. I have been hyper-active all my life and was recently diagnosed with having ADHD. When I was in elementary school, some teachers enjoyed having me in their classes and some couldn't handle my energy. I'm very creative--an author, artistic, etc., but have difficult times sticking to tasks--For example, I should be working on an important project instead of writing this letter to stick up for your little girl when you're so angry at her.

My mother came from a large family where people weren't allowed to be different or creative because they needed to work. My mother was not allowed to use her artistic talents and resented my interest in everything and my sensitivity to life, which she tried to squash. She had very little patience and would get frustrated and angry. She talked about me to other people right in front of me---like I couldn't hear her or like she wanted me to hear her so I'd be embarrassed and shamed. I wonder whether your daughter is feeling your frustration and anger and is feeling frustrated and angry back--that's the reason she's hitting you.

Anyway, you've received some great replies from the parents' point of view, I thought I'd fill you in on the child's point of view. Remember that you're dealing with a thinking, feeling person. I think the only way to make this problem better is to get some help yourself so that you can be more understanding and patient.

I can't imagine why you want to have another child when your daughter needs your love, kindness, and understanding right now. How could you handle another child without leaving your daughter to drift off into nowhere? This makes me feel like you've given up on this little baby, and you want to start over with another one. Be a good parent to this child, and then have another. You'll be rewarded with a wonderful daughter who loves you instead of a wild girl who may get into trouble. I was too afraid to get in trouble, but things are different today. Please help yourself and your daughter. I'll be praying for you.

HI L., I have never worked with a child this young, but I would be interested in doing an energ assessment for your daughter. My website is www.jillsylvester.com for more information. Should you be interested, please let me know. Thank you.


My son is very active. Be happy she sleeps all night! Evan doesn't he has spd and is a sensory seeker he is go go go go we have a strict routine that we follow and tantrums are less often this way. Provide lots of ways to get the energy out. Our OT suggest having Evan walk around the house like different animals a frog, snake, bear, etc and another thing we find helps is to put some heavy books in a laundry basket and have him push it around.

Two years olds start doing what they want, and so do three year olds for that matter. They're just trying to figure out their world, and what the boundaries are. Sleeping from 7:30 PM to 5:45 AM is wonderful if she sleeps through the night. Especially if she has a two hour nap during the day. Time outs in her crib are probably not the best way to go, as she will associate her bed with being a bad thing - and she certainly won't want to go in it - so you're working against yourself. I tried time outs with my daughter and she used to think it was fun - so for some kids, it just doesn't work. Hitting is another thing though. Try not to react so much to it, just say "no thank you" and move on to something else. Get up, move away, etc. If she's getting a rise of out you, then she's going to keep doing it. If this is something new, hopefully she'll grow out of it if you don't make it into a big deal. (I'm not saying it's okay that she hits - but focus on the positive things she does and try to downplay the negative things). She may have learned that behavior from somewhere -day care? (doesn't sound like she's in day care though), a play mate?, television?, another adult? As for not holding your hand - neither did mine - but kids are all so different. My best friends daughter is a cling-on and there are days when she wishes she would just let go! What's her diet like? That's the first thing I would look at when it comes to hyperactivity. Diet and television - your two worst enemies. We don't have television in our house, and we don't have junk food. You do feel like your at your wits end when it comes to two year olds, but that's part of the territory. The calmer you are, the calmer your child is likely to be. If this is an ongoing thing and she's really out of control - then that's a different story, but it doesn't sound like it - it sounds like she's a normal two year old. I don't think you can label any child that young with any 'disorder' - it's just not possible - so don't try labeling her at this age. Be consistent, but be calm -not an easy thing to do! You're at your wits ends and you want another child? That's interesting to me.....as you can't even imagine what it's like to be at your wits end until you another one to the mix! Good luck.

I have a 2 yr. old and when she went to "camp" this summer and her schedule changed she started behaving poorly-tantrums, throwing things, etc. When camp was over and she wasn't overtired all the time she went back to being calm and cooperative. It was a real eye-opener!! I know you can't always get her to sleep, but definitely make an effort to get her to nap-even if you have to take her for a ride in the car. My daughter sleeps from 7:30-5:30/45 as well, but I wouldn't say she is a "bad" sleeper. She's just an early riser!!! You could move her bedtime, but sometimes that totally backfires. Anyway, when my daughter was in that crazy stage I read and read and read and the BEST book I found is "Without Spanking or Spoiling." PLEASE get it!!!! It will help tremendously, I promise. It is mainly about providing choices to kids, instead of just "NO." For example, you can say to your daughter, " Hitting people is not ok, but if you feel frustrated you can hit the floor." Or, throwing your toys is not ok, but if you want to go outside and throw the ball that would be fun. " Etc...
One more thought...kids just want to be acknowledged for the way they are feeling. I have read that making time out in the crib confuses kids because their bed is supposed to feel like a safe and happy place. If she doesn't sit anywhere else, you might consider other discipline ideas. If you get the book you may not need timeouts!!!! Good luck-you are not the only one who goes through this!!!

Hi L.,

Most of what you described is within the range of normal for a 2 yr old. You used the terms "hyper" and "overactive" did your pedi assess your daughter and diagnose her with ADHD? If not that would be the first step. If this is the case, I would work with your pedi to get referals to support services.

It does sound normal though:) Reading up on what to expect developmentally for this age would give you a good perspective on where she is at now.

Good luck! My son was a high energy 2 yr old too, he has mellowed much now at 5:)

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