10 Ways to Engage Spirited Kids


Spirited children are those who are high energy, a little more intense, sensitive, perceptive and temperamental than their peers. They require a little more attention and thoughtful activities to keep them focused. You probably already have plenty of experience handling your child, but anyone can use suggestions for activities to keep them engaged. Read on for 10 parent-tested, child-approved entertainment tactics:

  1. Water activities: Spending time in water generally soothes spirited kids and can result in them being more agreeable afterwards. Anything from an inflatable kiddie pool, to running around in a sprinkler, to playing in the tub would be suitable.
  2. Dress up/role playing: Even if it means letting the kids raid your closet, engaging their imagination can lead to hours of fun and distraction. Also perfect as a rainy day activity.
  3. Park/yard work: Let them run out their energy outside. Take them to a park where they can climb and jump and slide. If you are doing yard work, set them up with their own miniature tools.
  4. Sports: Get them on a sports team if they’re old enough. If not, throw on some music and start dancing. Get a mini trampoline (or full-sized if your yard allows for it).
  5. Reading: This is the perfect wind down activity to do with your child. Consider that they may have difficulty staying put and concentrating but if you give them a toy to play with while continuing to read, it could be enough to mellow them out.
  6. Mall: Another poor weather suggestion is to go to the mall with your child and let them run around. This is only recommended during low shopping traffic times (early morning during the week and never during holidays). It’s a great way to wear them out and then maybe even get some shopping done afterwards.
  7. Creating: Things like play-doh, Legos, building blocks, and forts are great ways to facilitate fun activities, get the imagination working and have fun with the kids. Arts and crafts are also a great option if you have a space for them to get messy without repercussions.
  8. Children’s museums: These are perfect because kids can run around, play with other kids and the majority of the exhibits are interactive. It’s fun for them and it’s fun for you too!
  9. Play dates: What better way for kids to be kids than to set them up on play dates? Let their imaginations run wild with each other. As parents, we can come up with so many activities but put multiple child minds together and the possibilities are endless.
  10. Outings: Do some research into kid-friendly activities available near your home. Long car rides are not conducive to the spirited child but if you’re within 20-30 minutes of a fun destination, getting out of the house can be good for everyone. From the children’s library to a petting farm to a kid’s gym, a change of scenery can be great for children.

The bottom line is to have a plan to keep your children occupied and on the go. The more active they are, the easier it will be for them to refuel with sleep and healthy meals, both essentials for their development. For additional resources, try some tips from author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka in her highly lauded book, Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0060923288/theparentsroomA/.

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