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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.
What is Hyperactivity in Children?
Hyperactivity in children is characterized by reckless behaviour and too much activity that stems from receiving a lack of sufficient attention. Hyperactive kids are prone to never get tired, can’t focus or have short attention spans in general. Hyperactivity in children results in poor academic performance, lack of socialization 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?
Hyperactivity in kids is caused 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 kids belong to. Here’s how hyperactivity is caused in kids in households-
Authoritarian Parenting – When parents become too restrictive with their rules and do not allow the child to be flexible such as – when a kid gets constantly punished for failing to get his grades up and is scolded instead of being talked to, that’s a sign 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.
Neglectful Parenting – If you constantly neglect your kid and don’t tend to his needs, then he won’t have a person or parent to turn to for advice when he’s in trouble or faces something outside his 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.
Overprotective Parenting – Do you clothe your kids, decide how much pocket money they get or in general, dictate how they proceed through every minute of their life? That’s what we call overprotective parenting. Kids need freedom and autonomy to a certain degree and when you invade their space every waking minute of their lives, they become frustrated, uncomfortable and hyperactive.
Signs and Symptoms of Child Hyperactivity
The hyperactive child symptoms and signs in kids 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 hyperactive child-
- Take him for a walk – Walking not only rejuvenates the mind but also the soul. Besides losing weight and improving cardiovascular health, walking ensures that your child will stay in tip-top shape and also enhance his focus. Walking is a way to let loose his wandering mind and enjoy the scenery along the way as well.
- Yoga And Meditation – Your child has abundant energy and a meaningful way to get him to calm down is to channel it in a positive direction. Yoga and meditation, when combined, will teach him how to channel that energy and live life mindfully. He will develop an awareness of his surroundings, stay focused in the present and finally, improve his attention span and long-term memory too.
- 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!
- Good Reads – Giving your children 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 them too much. Make sure you start off with a few books and let them pick one or two, to begin with. Once they finish, they can proceed to choose the next few ones.
- 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 they skip processed foods, added sugars, salt and anything that comes packaged or looks unhealthy on the labels. Give them 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.
- 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 kid to death by instilling sheer discipline and spoil his mood that way. Good parents know when to enforce consequences for failing to meet goals while spending enough time with their kids, on the other hand, to reinforce and remind them that they’re still okay once they realize their mistakes. Be an authoritative parent, not an authoritarian or dictator-type one.
- 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 receiving a lack of attention and 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.
- 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.
- Allow Second Chances – Encourage the child 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.
- Talk To Them – Allow your child 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 the child up with a buddy, you reduce fidgeting and also increase their tolerance for working from a seated position.
- Martial Arts – If your child’s got excess energy, then it’s time to put it to some good use. Enrol him in a Martial Arts class like Kung Fu or traditional Karate and watch him get fit, confident and calm in the process.
- Give A Stress Ball – Stress balls are squishy and aid in developing their attention and focus. A stress ball is a wonderful way to tackle child 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, then 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 a professional athlete in the making as he masters the art of swimming and gets 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.