Children are actively energetic and excited about a lot of things. There are various reasons as to why this may be happening. While it may be a natural occurrence in their nature, it is still important that the excessive energetic outbursts become regulated eventually.
How should you effectively deal with a hyperactive child? Hyperactivity is a broad category, which is why having a clear understanding of your child’s hyperactivity is important. Whether you are a parent or an educator, you have to know your child’s personality and behavior well.
Children are naturally playful and active. Hyperactivity is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is just as crucial to know when and how to take the necessary actions. As someone who has worked closely with children, I have researched further information which gives us more clarity. In the rest of this article, we shall learn more about when a child is hyperactive, its potential causes and some helpful steps to address this.
What Makes Your Child Hyperactive?
It is important to note as well that there is a fine line between being playful and having uncontrollable energy. Hyperactivity usually manifests as an overflowing level of energy among kids.
Some instances are:
- Difficulty in listening or following instructions
- Tendency to move a lot; such as jumping up and down the sofa, or running around your house
- Frequently interrupts conversation with you or other people
You may find yourself in a situation wherein despite telling your child countless times to refrain from doing such things, they still end up doing it. Likewise, you might be wondering what causes these actions. Finding out the triggers of what makes your child hyperactive may help us identify the rightful steps to take in addressing this.
In summary, listed below are the most common reasons of hyperactivity in your child:
- Biological Conditions
- Environmental Exposure
- Lack of Awareness in Self-Regulation Skills
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (more commonly known as ADHD) is said to be the most common cause of hyperactivity. It is a biological condition in which the brain manifests a high range of differences in its activities. It is likened to seeing a series of strobe lights in a child’s mind, causing them to display hyperactivity in their actions. However, it is worth noting that despite hyperactivity being one of the main symptoms of ADHD, not all hyperactive children are necessarily diagnosed with it.
Hormonal levels may also be a contributing factor to hyperactivity, especially once a child reaches puberty stage.
A busy, crowded environment may trigger hyperactivity in a child. Seeing a toy shop filled with many toys may get them excessively excited. Likewise, having less room for movement would make them want to move even more.
Excessive intake of high carb foods and sugar may be contributing factors as well.
Lack of Awareness in Self-Regulation Skills
The development of self-regulation skills among children is important as this helps them practice self-control over the situations they are in. More often than not, the development of this skill may take some time and may vary per child. Chances are, children who manifest hyperactivity have yet to become more familiarized with their self-regulation skills.
Helpful Steps in Effectively Dealing With Your Hyperactive Child
Make them become more familiarized with a routine
Having a routine will help your hyperactive child gradually learn that there is a set time for everything. Likewise, this may teach them to wait for their turn and eventually keep their patience intact. For instance, in preschool or kindergarten, children usually follow a schedule where they are being taught that there is a time for playing with toys, for singing, reading, dancing and saying goodbye.
At home, you may also come up with your own routine which you can do with your child. For it to become effective, you will need to be consistent with your implementation. It does not need to be very strict or rigid. In fact, the more fun and relatable the activities will be, the more you can get your child to cooperate.
Strike the balance between active play and calming activities
Hyperactive children will always seek for activities where they can move a lot and release their pent-up energies. Instead of restraining them, a suggested effective way of handling this is through compromise.
For instance, you may enroll your child in an active sports class he or she enjoys for an hour or two. Afterwards, you may prepare some calming activities like meditation, breathing exercises or make him or her listen to some calming music before nap time or bedtime. These activities will help them have an alternative channel for the excess energy they’re trying to contain.
Communicate with your child’s teacher
If your child is already in his or her schooling years, it is highly recommended for you to have an open communication with the teacher. Your child’s teacher may have some observations and inputs which may help you effectively manage your child’s behavior.
Give positive reinforcements
Positive reinforcements play a huge role in a child’s life. This isn’t to get a child used to getting rewards for every action they do. Instead, this may actually help in managing a hyperactive child. Your sons or daughters may get extra motivated when they know they will get something good out of it. This may be in the form of their favorite treats or getting extra time in doing the things they enjoy, provided that this is something that will also be beneficial for them.
Just like any method of correcting a behavior, this will need consistency. Furthermore, as soon as you have seen some positive progress, you can start reducing the rewards into more intangibles ones until the time comes wherein it will not be needed anymore.
General Advice on Dealing with Hyperactive Children
As mentioned earlier, hyperactivity is not something that children should be shamed for. It is not necessarily a bad behavior or something to be associated with bad parenting. It is important to remember that this is a behavior which they have little control over, and requires help to be managed. Your consistent presence, being well-informed and utmost understanding are important to have when it comes to managing your child.
Being well-informed and keeping an open mind about the nature of hyperactivity is just the first step in managing your child’s behavior. Despite the information which had been laid out, it requires consistency and patience. Likewise, if needed, it is also best to consult a developmental pediatrician or child behavior specialist so that it will be easier and more efficient to determine which course of action to take. After all, whether there is a diagnosis of ADHD or not, the crucial goal here is to help your child in the best way possible.
How do I draw the line between mere hyperactivity and ADHD? Differentiating the two may be a little tricky, which is why it’s important to be well-informed about both conditions. Not all kids who have ADHD are hyperactive, and vice-versa. Hyperactivity may pertain to being excessively playful at the wrong place and time but can still show some signs of understanding; while kids with ADHD may show more difficulty in following simple instructions.
Will being strict help control my child’s hyperactivity? While it may show immediate effect, it is important to remember that being hyperactive is something your child cannot control, and may not be aware of. Instead of being strict, it is more recommended to show firmness and patience.