A lot of films, television shows and books often depict raising a wild child as a fun and rewarding adventure. That is definitely the case, but it’s a very reductive portrayal that misses out a lot of the day to day struggles of being a parent to a wild and spirited child.
It can be a real challenge to know how to raise a wild child correctly, and you won’t get it right all of the time.
We have put together this useful guide to give you some help. It explains how to know if you have a wild child, as well as providing some tips and tricks for how to raise a wild child.
Do I Have A Wild Child?
It can be difficult to establish what falls under ‘ordinary toddler/young child’ behavior and what is ‘wild child’ behavior.
Only a small percentage of children fall into the personality type of ‘wild and spirited’ – most of them tend to be ‘happy and easygoing’ or ‘shy and thoughtful’ or a combination of the two. If you are wondering whether you have a wild child, this is what you should look out for.
Wild children are often very active- they like physical activities and being busy, and get fidgety if they have to sit still for too long. They also have a limited attention span and can get distracted very easily, especially from things that they are not particularly interested in.
A wild child will display intense emotions. They can quickly change from ecstatic happiness to devastating sadness or passionate anger. Whatever they feel, they feel it deeply and won’t hold back from expressing it.
Stubbornness is another common trait of a wild child. They know what they want and they won’t back down, even if nobody else understands their point of view.
One of the most defining traits of wild children is that they are unpredictable. They don’t tend to pick up regular routines and their eating and sleeping patterns can change from day to day. They might be overactive to stimuli on some days and unreactive on others.
Sometimes they will react well to change and other occasions they will find it very upsetting. They could welcome new people with open arms or reject them and withdraw. You never really know how they are going to react to things.
If you think that these things apply to your child, then keep reading to find out how to raise a wild child.
How To Raise A Wild Child
Keep Them Active
Wild and spirited children have a lot of energy and it is important that they use it up. If possible, let them play outside in a safe space for an hour a day. Send them out in old, scruffy clothes so they can get muddy and really let loose.
A lot of spirited children have a strong connection to nature, so spending time outdoors can help them to understand themselves and give them comfort. Playing outside also stimulates their senses- sight, sound, smell, touch- giving them an immersive experience that will wear out their brain as well as their body.
It is a lot easier to raise a wild child that is kept active both physically and emotionally.
Encourage Them To Use Their Imagination
A wild child will often have very active imaginations. If they do not get to use their imaginations this can lead to over excitedness, difficulty processing thoughts, and problems with expressing themselves.
Avoid toys that are noisy and chaotic. Instead, provide them with more simple toys that encourage them to use their imagination like making a sandbox for them. Playing outdoors is also good for this. You can also encourage them to make up their own stories to tell you.
Learning how to raise a wild child and to encourage them to use their imaginations will be half of the battle.
Your wild child might be confident enough to make lots of friends, or they could be independent and prefer to do things on their own. Either way, it is important that they get involved in group activities and games.
Spirited children can sometimes become isolated- either by choice or as a consequence of their actions or independent tendencies. Being part of a group teaches them important social skills and helps them to learn how to self-regulate their behavior in order to join in with others.
Make sure you praise them for playing nicely with other children, for sharing, for being kind, and for demonstrating cooperation.
Group activities are also a great way to meet other parents and caregivers of wild children where you can discuss tips on how to raise a wild child and what does and doesn’t work.
Nap Times And Restful Activities
If a wild child becomes overtired then they can quickly become difficult to deal with and impossible to reason with. Make sure you provide them with opportunities to nap when they need to. If they don’t want to nap, then switch them over to a more sedentary activity for an hour so their body can rest.
They could read, draw, or listen to music or an audiobook book. You might find that they fall asleep anyway. You could also settle them down in front of a movie, but try not to let them have too much screen time- an hour a day is more than enough.
Avoid overstimulation during these restful times so that their brain can rest even if they aren’t napping.
Nutritious And Natural Foods
Your wild child is going to be very busy, so you need to make sure they have enough energy to support their active lifestyle. Feed them nutritious foods and try to avoid excessive sugar as this can cause them to become hyperactive and then crash. Learning which foods are proactive in helping to raise a wild child is a great resource.
One of the most important things that wild and spirited children need is freedom – freedom to be themselves and to learn independently.
That’s not to say that they don’t need supervision- it is important to keep your children safe – but they will not respond well to having you constantly looking over their shoulder and micro-managing every activity.
Try to provide lots of opportunities for independent thought and choices- whether they choose their own outfit, choose their activity, get involved with deciding what to have for dinner.
Not only is it important for a parent to learn how to raise a wild child, it is equally important for a wild child to learn how to grow themselves.
Provide Healthy Ways For Them To Express Their Feelings
Make sure your wild child knows that you are always there for them, even though you let them have their space. Maintain open communication within the household so they always feel safe to express their feelings, and provide opportunities for creative outlets for when they are struggling to find the words.
If you are a parent to a wild child then every day activities can be more challenging than usual. However, with the right tools and attitudes, there is no reason why having a wild child needs to be overwhelming.
By following these handy tips on how to raise a wild child, we are certain that life can be full of excitement, enjoyment, and unpredictability in the best way possible.