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If you’ve got a problem-child at home who can’t seem to sit still or listen mindfully, then that may be a sign of hyperactivity. It gets even worse if you hear complaints from the teachers of your child’s recklessness and lack of care both inside and outside the classroom. Here’s everything you need to know about hyperactivity in children and tips for dealing with them.
Video: How to Handle a Hyperactive Child
What Is Hyperactivity in Children?
Hyperactivity in children is characterised by reckless behaviour and too much activity that stems from receiving a lack of sufficient attention. Hyperactive kids seldom get tired; they can’t focus or have a short attention span in general. Hyperactivity in children results in poor academic performance, lack of socialisation, and in severe cases, even complete withdrawal from participation in group activities, thus leading to depression, frustration, and poor self-esteem.
What Causes Hyperactivity in Kids?
Kids become hyperactive when there is an imbalance in the production of the two neurotransmitters, adrenaline and dopamine, in the brain. Hyperactivity primarily stems from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and most cases of hyperactivity are linked to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
The other causes of hyperactivity include the environment and the families the kids belong to. Here’s how hyperactivity is caused in kids in households:
1. Authoritarian Parenting
When you become too restrictive with your rules and do not allow your child to be flexible, your child is more likely to be hyperactive. Parents constantly punishing their kids for failing to get good grades or always scolding instead of talking are some examples or signs of authoritarian parenting. Authoritarian parenting lowers children’s confidence, weakens self-esteem, and all that lack of mental upbringing translates to poor results and hyperactivity in the classroom. Since kids feel inferior, they vent out their frustration by failing even more or being hyperactive at home or in school.
2. Neglectful Parenting
If you constantly neglect your kids and don’t tend to their needs, then they won’t have a person or parent to turn to for advice when they are in trouble or when they face something outside their comfort zone. Neglectful parenting also imbibes a lack of sense of certainty, and children sometimes don’t know the consequences of their actions, thus acting reckless and hyperactive without a second care in the world.
3. Overprotective Parenting
Do you dress your kids, decide how much pocket money they get, or in general, dictate how they proceed through every minute of their lives? That’s what we call overprotective parenting. Kids need freedom and autonomy to a certain degree, and when parents invade their space every waking minute of their lives, they become frustrated, uncomfortable, and hyperactive.
Signs and Symptoms of Child Hyperactivity
The signs and symptoms of a hyperactive child are as follows:
- Impulsiveness or a lack of self-control.
- Lack of focus and extremely short attention spans.
- Interrupts conversations constantly and shares their thoughts aloud.
- Too much motor activity and exhibition of uncontrolled movements.
- Unable to sit still for a few seconds to minutes.
How Is Childhood Hyperactivity Diagnosed?
There are no specific signs or symptoms of hyperactivity since most pre-schoolers and young children are hyperactive to a certain degree. However, these are some ways your doctor may diagnose childhood hyperactivity.
- Through the review of family and medical history.
- Asking daycare givers, pre-school teachers, and neighbours for daily reports.
- He may ask for a record of your child’s daily activities and nutrition info.
- Through a behavioural therapy consultation.
How Can You Deal With Your Hyperactive Child?
Here are some tricks and tips on how to control a hyperactive child:
1. Take Your Kids For a Walk
Walking rejuvenates not only the mind but also the soul. Besides losing weight and improving cardiovascular health, walking ensures that your kids will stay in tip-top shape and also enhance their focus. Walking is a way to let loose their wandering mind and enjoy the scenery along the way as well.
2. Yoga and Meditation
Some children have abundant energy, and a meaningful way to get them to calm down is to channel it in a positive direction. Yoga and meditation, when combined, will teach them how to channel that energy and live life mindfully. This will develop an awareness of the surroundings, help kids stay focused on the present, and finally, improve their attention span and long-term memory.
3. Household Chores
Household chores may seem boring at first glance, but they can transform into a fun family activity when done together. Split your chores amongst your kids, be it gardening, mowing the lawn, cleaning the kitchen, cooking, or whatever else you need running in the house. Doing household chores inculcates a sense of discipline, responsibility, and improves self-esteem, too!
4. Good Reads
Giving your kids a collection of interesting books to read will foster their learning, memory, and improve intelligence, too. The more you learn, the more you grow, but at the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm your little ones too much. Make sure you start off with a few books and let your children pick one or two, to begin with. Once they finish, they can proceed to choose the next few ones.
5. Change Diet
Nutritionally speaking, ADHD and OCD can be cured to a certain extent (or totally in some cases) when you alter your child’s diet. Make sure you skip processed foods, added sugars, salt, and anything that comes packaged or looks unhealthy on the labels. Give your kids fresh, organic, home-cooked meals that are free of preservatives and artificial flavours. Eating clean goes a long way towards improving mood, lifestyle, and overall physical and mental wellbeing.
6. Maintain Balance
Create a system of routines and rewards in the household that’s a bit flexible in nature. You don’t want to bore your kids to death by instilling sheer discipline and spoil their mood that way. Good parents know when to enforce consequences for failing to meet goals while spending enough time with their kids. They reinforce and remind them that they’re still okay once they realise their mistakes. Be an authoritative parent, not an authoritarian or dictator-type parent.
7. Never Neglect
Don’t leave your kids all alone every day. Be involved with their schoolwork, daily activities, and give them some of your attention which they so crave. Hyperactivity stems from a lack of attention. By showing appreciation in moments when you catch them doing something good or productive, they calm down and are reassured of their efforts. Hyperactivity automatically goes away. Just make sure not to be too quick to judge and focus on the positives while ignoring the negatives.
8. Give Breaks
Don’t deny them recess or breaks. When you let the feeling of hyperactivity being allowed in the classroom sink into them, they calm down and respond appropriately.
9. Allow Second Chances
Encourage the children to pay attention to detail and review their work before submitting or showing. Give second chances to them if they make mistakes and seem to be stumbling academically.
10. Talk to Them
Allow your kids to talk about their feelings and share how they feel on a day-to-day basis. Give them closure and a sense of freedom in sharing their thoughts and expressions with you. Give them attention, basically.
Activities and Games to Keep Hyperactive Kids Busy
Here are a couple of activities and games to keep hyperactive kids busy:
- Share Activities With Others – Assign a collaborative project with another kid in the classroom. By pairing a child up with a buddy, you reduce fidgeting and also increase their tolerance for working from a seated position.
- Martial Arts – If your children have got excess energy, then it’s time to put it to some good use. Enrol them in a Martial Arts class like Kung Fu or traditional Karate and watch them get fit, confident, and calm in the process.
- Give a Stress Ball – Stress balls are squishy and aid in developing attention and focus. A stress ball is a wonderful way to tackle kids’ sensory integration problems effectively.
- Play Games – Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, a little bit of gaming with your kids won’t hurt. Try chess, ludo, Chinese checkers, and UNO with them. If they’re feeling a bit adventurous, take it outdoors with games like table tennis, badminton, soccer, and cricket.
- Swimming – Swimming is an amazing activity for hyperactive kids. It builds self-discipline, burns calories, provides room for constant movement, and is fun too! Who knows? You may even have professional athletes in the making when your kids master the art of swimming and get good at it.
Hyperactivity is a natural phase in children, and sometimes we have to pay extra attention to it before it becomes a full-blown problem later in life. Remember these tips, be patient with your child, and you’ll see results soon enough.