Hyperactivity in children seems to be an almost normal disorder nowadays. It is more and more common to hear parents and teachers complaining about having a hyperactive child.
Different arguments are used to explain this behavioral disorder, including excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages. As a result, consultations with psychologists and psychiatrists have increased exponentially.
However, it’s important to be very cautious when labelling a child as “hyperactive.” This could cause many problems for your little one.
It isn’t a big problem to have a truly hyperactive child or student, if they receive the appropriate treatment.
However, if the situation isn’t adequately managed, it can create a frustrated, insecure and stressed out child.
Some advice on childhood hyperactivity
A child that runs without stopping or moves constantly during a long trip isn’t necessarily hyperactive. The behavioral disorder manifests differently.
Many children are naturally restless, noisy, like to run, climb, and touch everything they see – this is normal.
The same thing happens with teachers. They lose patience because their class has five, six, or seven restless children. They may become exasperated and call the parents to suggest a consultation with a therapist.
Restless children aren’t hyperactive in the sense that they don’t manifest behavioral disorders. They’re simply restless children.
If they study, sleep well, are happy, have friends, and play, then they’re just normal children that are restless.
How do hyperactive children act?
On the other hand, a hyperactive child is one with a constant restlessness that impedes the development of normal attitudes of children their age.
Some of the characteristics of hyperactive children include:
- They demonstrate learning problems
- They don’t respect the rules, regardless of whether they’re family rules or game rules. This causes problems relating to other children.
- It is very difficult for them to wait or be patient.
- They act without thinking and are impulsive.
- They spend the whole day moving around. They run into doors and throw things.
- They aren’t able to focus their attention and jump constantly from one topic to another. It seems as if nothing interests them.
For these children, it isn’t worth getting mad at them. It’s useless to repeatedly ask them to stay quiet or finish their tasks before getting up.
They seem to listen, but in a few minutes, they do the same thing you just forbid. These symptoms of hyperactivity are technically called “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” or “ADHD.”
How to help a hyperactive child
Daily control of children’s hyperactivity is a challenge for the adults responsible for their care and education.
- First, the adult should understand that hyperactivity is not voluntary. The child isn’t moving constantly on purpose. They aren’t able to control themselves. So it’s necessary that the adult in charge keeps this in mind and helps them change their behaviors with the right attitude.
- Agreements, rewards and positive reinforcement for accomplishments are useful strategies. For example, “if you stay seated while you eat for a whole week you’ll get this toy you really want.” Keep track of their successes day by day and reward them accordingly with the prize.
- The purpose of the game can be for the child to stay seated for more than three minutes. Then increase that to five minutes, then eight, and continue to do so until the goal is achieved.
- Manage their attention. To help them focus their attention on a task, it’s a good idea to repeat to them loudly each one of the steps they should follow. Thus, they will be able to do it however many times necessary. Always repeat it loudly. Little by little, the child will be able to guide themselves by following the instructions in their mind.
- Limit the consumption of beverages with caffeine and sugar. The relationship between drinking soda and hyperactivity is under investigation. It’s true that caffeine and an excess of sugar act as stimulants. That’s why they cause agitation and make it more difficult to calm down.
A strong family unit is important to help a hyperactive child. Parents provide the base for children to build their values. A hyperactive child’s behavior depends greatly on their parents.