Hyperactive children: how to recognize and calm them

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Your baby is adorable, but he runs all over the place, screams, has a hard time concentrating and learning to read? Maybe he’s hyperactive. In addition to causing many difficulties for the child, hyperactivity can also turn into a problem for those who live next to him. Here are some tips to better manage this developmental disorder!

We hear more and more of ailments such as ADHD, better known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A psychological pathology that mainly affects children of school and preschool age, but of which little is known. To clarify this disorder and understand what are the best strategies to calm a hyperactive child, we have written an article in which we explain in depth what childhood hyperactivity is and how it should be treated both in the family and at school.

What is childhood hyperactivity?

Childhood hyperactivity or hyperkinesis is a developmental psychic disorder , also known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This developmental disorder of self-control affects 4% of school-age and preschool-aged children , especially boys . ADHD is officially recognized in the United States thanks to some research and treaties that have allowed doctors around the world to have a clearer clinical picture than neurobiological disorders like this. Hyperactive children often have above average intelligence, but find it very difficult to maintain attention as they are unable to process and channel all the stimuli conveyed by the outside world. In general, hyperactivity manifests itself through impulsive , sometimes even dangerous, and dissociated behaviors .

How does hyperactivity manifest in children? Here are the most common symptoms

It is not always easy to distinguish a simply restless child from a clinically hyperactive one , therefore, before reaching hasty conclusions, it is necessary to turn to specialists such as a child neuropsychiatrist , who will subject the child to psychological tests with which it will be possible to analyze his behavior and have and a clear diagnosis . In general, there are several symptoms attributable to a disturbance in attention , some of these present at times already from birth (constant crying, agitation, difficulty in falling asleep, continuous jolts …). More often, however, it is from the beginning of school, when the child is around 5-8 years old, the symptoms become more evident and can include behaviors such as:

  • Excessive vivacity : hyperactive children never sit still and, if forced to sit still, they still continue to move at least one part of the body
  • Difficulty staying focused on a single activity: Often, people with ADHD tend to do multiple things at the same time , without completing them, whether it be games, schoolwork or housework.
  • Predisposition to constant distractions
  • Extreme inattention resulting in mistakes and mistakes that can affect his self-esteem
  • Refusal of rules and impositions
  • Difficulty listening and obeying
  • A certain attitude to interrupt and intrude
  • Poor perception of danger : hyperactive children are not always aware of the consequences that their impulsiveness can entail and this can often jeopardize their safety and that of others
  • Tendency to lose or forget personal belongings and / or school supplies
  • Poor organizational and communication skills
  • Excessive emotionality
  • Aversion to performing tasks that involve some mental effort

The causes of childhood hyperactivity

Hyperactivity is a complex disorder, the cause of which is difficult to identify. However, some studies have shown that ADHD can be caused by genetic factors so it often happens that a hyperactive child in the family has a relative with the same symptoms. Thus, heredity may be a factor to consider, but not the only one. In fact, others may be the triggering causes of hyperactivity and inattention in children , such as:

  • Parents’ exposure to toxic substances during intrauterine life ( alcohol, lead, drugs, polluting chemicals …)
  • Altered areas of the brain such as the right prefrontal cortex and the two narrowest basal ganglia
  • Early birth
  • Relational problems in the family and / or at school and disadvantaged living conditions: these situations can favor the development of hyperactive behaviors in children unable to process their discomfort which is thus vented through impulsive and uncontrolled actions

How to deal with hyperactive children?

As we pointed out earlier, the support of a specialist doctor in cases like these is of paramount importance. It will be this figure, in fact, to accompany parents and child on this path, opting for the right psychomotor treatment and possibly a light dosage of drugs. Faced with the diagnosis of ADHD, the minor must be subjected to cognitive-behavioral therapy and the parents to family therapy , also known as parent education , a training program aimed at informing and educating those who care for hyperactive children. In addition to these solutions, there are some tricksthat parenting figures must adopt in the management of everyday life when dealing with a child suffering from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, here are some examples:

  • Keep calm and avoid getting irritated otherwise you risk undermining his confidence and self-esteem
  • Transmit limits not to be exceeded and entrust him with some basic tasks in which to channel his energy and through which to allow the development of his autonomy
  • Ask each time for confirmation of the fact that he understood the instructions given, otherwise re- explain the concept again
  • Avoid scolding him excessively because it is useless if not to aggravate the discomfort felt by the child
  • Make one request at a time in a firm, decisive and above all clear way
  • Punish where necessary and reward when attentive and available
  • Speak openly
  • Equip him with an anti-stress in which to vent his hyperactivity

A guide for parents: behaviors to avoid

Raising a child takes a lot of energy, especially if the child in question suffers from a disorder such as ADHD. While this is easier said than done, it is important to always stay in control and not run into some common mistakes . Here are what behaviors to avoid if you have a hyperactive child in your family:

  • The risky situations : a hyperactive child is struggling to maintain self-control, especially in a chaotic environment. If he is agitated or overwhelmed by emotions he is unable to control, he tends to run everywhere and scream, becoming unmanageable for parents. To prevent such situations from occurring, it is best to avoid taking him to particularly crowded and confusing places.
  • Don’t shout louder : when your child suffers from hyperactivity and happens to disobey you or rebel, know that entering into a bargaining perspective is totally useless. The prohibition or refusal must be categorical and expressed in a clear but calm way , to avoid the danger of a nervous breakdown.
  • Don’t lose control of your emotions: in front of a hyperactive child, it is normal to feel helpless. The temptation to let go, give in to stress and feel guilty is strong, however it is of fundamental importance to control oneself in front of a child with ADHD, a disorder that makes him even more in need of solid points to lean on.
  • Don’t forget about yourself : practicing healthy selfishness and thinking only of yourself, every now and then, is essential. When it is possible to ease the pressure on your shoulders, you should relax and rest. In short, keeping aside a little time just for yourself is a safety valve and an outlet not to be neglected when dealing with hyperactive children.

ADHD and school

L ‘ ADHD can impact severely on’ academic performance of the child , because of deficits and inattention that disturbances of this kind can generate. Stay seated compounds to their desk in class can turn into a real nightmare for students with hyperkinetic child. In the long run, boredom and frustration set in and these feelings can increase the level of agitation in the child who will begin to move in a frantic way and give rise to their own impulsiveness. This is where teachers have to come in, whose intervention, together with that of the parents, is fundamental for the success of the school path, both of the child with ADHD and of his companions.

These are called to personalize the tasks and checks , dividing them into parts and giving the student with attention deficit a few minutes of pause between the various units . Furthermore, at school there is no lack of discussion and collaboration between teachers, parents and doctors. Together, these figures will be able to develop a personalized learning plan in able to help the subject in learning concepts and in carrying out school activities. Unfortunately, it often happens that these children are isolated from their classmates due to their impulsive and reckless actions. To avoid unpleasant episodes, the teacher has the task of identifying the student with whom the child suffering from this disorder is in greater harmony to accompany and support him both at an educational and social level.

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