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Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1945
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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Please help. My five year old daughter is highly energetic

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Please help. My five year old daughter is highly energetic and totally physically fearless. When she was smaller we had to remove most of the furniture from her bedroom because she was climing up and jumping off it. We have enrolled her with a gymnastics class that starts after the summer holidays but in the meantime it is incredibly difficult looking after her. I cannot leave her alone for a moment. Earlier today I left the room for a minute and seconds later she had blood pouring from her head. She had climbed up the back of the sofa, slipped and banged her head on the radiator. Every week we have at least one incident report form home from school regarding some accident. I can't seem to get the message through to her that she has to stop hurting herself. Any ideas?
Hello & Welcome to Just Answers.

It sounds to me like she has impulse control problems, which can become a medical issue along the lines of ADHD and should be discussed with your pediatrician. You'll want to know what to look for so that you can keep an eye out for that if it develops.

You're doing good things already, but you need to know that good techniques only work for a very short time with kids her age. The trick is to keep changing them up. Reward charts that change color and shape every 2 weeks are great. Every day without an accident gives her a marble in a jar, nickels in a cup...things like that. Changing the shape, words, colors and prizes will keep her attention.

She's very young, and this will take a long time for her to learn and hold on to. It's like manners: we tell our children a thousand times to say Thank You over the years before they pick it up naturally. This may be like that with her. Using a memory marker like, "Look before you Leap", or pointing to your head and saying "Think, think, think" can help also.

She'll learn, but it will take time. Just remember that the best interventions only last 3-4 weeks until they're about 10. Hang in there - she's young and impulsive, and most children grow out of that.

My best to you.

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