Why Is Your Toddler So Hyper? Science Explains

Ad failed to load

If your toddler is active, high-spirited, energetic, and, frankly, exhausting, you might think that you're looking at a child that's out of the norm. You may wonder what's going on, if there's something wrong, and why they are the way that they are. While, sure, it's normal for you to ask these questions if you're worried, chances are, there's not actually anything wrong. Science explains why your toddler is so hyper and it's probably not as exciting or revelatory as you might think. If you suspect it could be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it's a good idea to chat with some experts who can either help you manage the condition or rule it out as the cause of your toddler's hyperactivity. That being said, according to WebMD, if they truly have ADHD, the signs will manifest over a long period of time, not just show up in fits and spurts. But, if they don't have ADHD, then what gives?

In an interview with Parents, Dr. Kyle D. Pruett, one of the magazine's medical advisors and a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale University's School of Medicine, said that toddlers are hyper because they're exploring the world around them. They can move and climb and want to tap into their fierce curiosity about a world that's still somewhat foreign to them. They're energetic naturally, which, like the battery-powered Energizer bunny, keeps them going all day long (and sometimes into the night, as well).

Giphy
Ad failed to load

They're also excited, which can make kids act more hyper too. "At Halloween or a birthday party, kids are just really, really excited," pediatrician Dr. Ivor Horn told the Washington Post. "If you take a kid to a party and you have cake and then you come home and they are all over the place, you might attribute it to all the junk they ate, but it may be that they’re just really excited about the fact they just came from a party with all their friends or family, or they’ve been really active at the party and now they’re tired, and that’s contributing to behavior.” Even if the occasion isn't special or out-of-the-ordinary, if your kids have gotten themselves all worked up and excited about what's to come, that could potentially make them more active and hyper than they maybe would be otherwise. Think about how you react to unexpected good news. It doesn't have to be earth-shattering to have an effect. Excitement perks people up.

Not only that, but they're constantly learning new things and new skills that they can then explore or put to use. That's exciting too and it can be difficult to tamp that down and move more calmly. Susan J. Schwartz, clinical director of the Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement at the New York University Child Study Center, told Parents in the previously-mentioned article that it's difficult for toddlers to slow down or stop because they haven't yet developed the self-control that older kids or adults might have that keeps them from running off, climbing all over things, and otherwise performing real-life experiments to see what will happen, what they can do, and how far they can go.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

While it's not exactly clear if there's a definitive cause and effect link, NPR reported that a study published in Pediatrics found that babies who were breastfed for at least six months weren't as hyperactive as toddlers as those kids who were exclusively formula-fed or breastfed for less than six months. "However, it's worth noting that the benefit of less hyper-active behavior was documented at age 3, but by age 5 it had faded away." That information might not have a real effect on if you choose to breastfeed your baby or not, but if your currently-hyperactive toddler was exclusively fed formula as an infant and not breastfed, it's possible that it could help explain some of why they are that way.

Bottom line: If you have what you think is a hyperactive toddler, you're far from alone. That doesn't mean that you don't have rough days, however. There are many tips and tricks for dealing with hyperactive kiddos out there if you find you could use some help on that front. And if you have an inkling that their hyperactivity might be a sign of something more serious, it can't hurt to get that checked out.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}