A hyperactive child never stops moving, which can present problems at home and in the classroom. If your child is hyperactive, she needs your help to succeed. This may require changes to your daily routine, but little things can make a big difference in her life. Talk to your doctor about the paths that are right for your child.
Hyperactive vs. Active
You may have trouble keeping up with your child, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s hyperactive. Most children are active, but hyperactive children have difficulties functioning in society because of it. Some signs of hyperactivity are constant fidgeting, blurting answers before you finish asking a question, interrupting people and impatience. Talk to your child’s doctor for an official diagnosis.
Many hyperactive children do well when they have a routine to follow. Create a schedule that includes items that would seem basic to you, like getting dressed, and post this on the wall. Use pictures if your child doesn’t yet read. Schedule lots of breaks for activity. For example, you might set aside 30 minutes in the afternoon for homework, followed by an hour of free play time, then come back for more homework time after dinner.
Hyperactivity and Diet
Some doctors, like Dr. Ben F. Feingold, believe that hyperactivity in children is often related to diet. In particular, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners may affect behavior negatively. You can adjust your family’s diet, removing these items to see if it makes a difference. However, you must read labels carefully. You’ll be surprised by how many foods contain these products. This might be an effective way to treat the disease without medication.
Setting Your Child Up for Success
Your child may be hyperactive and have trouble concentrating in class, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t be successful. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may be able to work with her teacher to find behavioral solutions that work in the classroom, such as allowing her to hold a small ball that she can squeeze while the teacher talks. Your child may also thrive in a special education environment.
Though there is controversy over whether medicating children for hyperactivity is the right thing to do, many children do perform better when they are on medication that treats the disease. Most of these medications are stimulants that actually slow down hyperactive children. Your doctor can help you determine if this is the right choice for your family.