Child hyperactivity – a condition in which the activity and excitability of the child significantly exceed the norm. This causes a lot of trouble for parents, caregivers and teachers. And the child himself suffers from difficulties in communicating with peers and adults, which is fraught with the formation of further negative psychological characteristics of the person.
How to identify and treat hyperactivity, which specialists need to be contacted for diagnosis, how to build communication with the child? All this needs to be known in order to grow a healthy baby.
What is hyperactivity?
This is a neurological-behavioral disorder, which in the medical literature is often called the hyperactive child syndrome.
It is characterized by the following violations:
- impulsive behavior;
- significantly increased speech and motor activity;
- attention deficit.
The disease leads to poor relationships with parents, peers, low school performance. According to statistics, this disorder occurs in 4% of schoolchildren, in boys it is diagnosed 5-6 times more often.
The difference between hyperactivity and activity
Hyperactivity syndrome differs from the active state in that the behavior of the baby creates problems for the parents, those around him and himself.
It is necessary to contact a pediatrician, a neurologist or a child psychologist in the following cases: motor disinhibition and lack of attention are constantly manifested, the behavior makes it difficult to communicate with people, school performance is low. You also need to consult a doctor if the child is aggressive towards others.
The causes of hyperactivity can be different:
- premature or complicated labor;
- intrauterine infections;
- the impact of harmful factors at work during pregnancy;
- bad ecology;
- stress and physical overload of the woman during the gestation period;
- genetic predisposition;
- unbalanced diet during pregnancy;
- immaturity of the central nervous system of the newborn;
- metabolic dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the central nervous system of the infant;
- excessive demands on the child’s parents and teachers;
- Disorders of purine metabolism in the baby.
This condition can be triggered by late toxicosis, the use of drugs during pregnancy without consultation with the doctor. The effects of alcohol, drugs, smoking during the gestation period are possible. Read more about the effect of smoking on the course of pregnancy →
Conflicting relationships in the family, family violence can contribute to the appearance of hyperactivity. Low academic performance, due to which the child is subjected to complaints from teachers and punishment from parents – another predisposing factor.
Symptoms of hyperactivity are similar at any age:
- delayed speech development;
- irritability and tearfulness;
- poor sleep;
Hyperactivity in children up to one year old – babies is indicated by anxiety and increased physical activity in the crib, the brightest toys arouse their short interest. On examination, these children often identify stigmas of disambriogenesis, including epicantal folds, the anomalous structure of the auricles and their low location, the gothic palate, cleft lip, and wolf’s mouth.
In children in 2-3 years
The manifestations of this condition most often parents begin to notice from 2 years of age or from an even earlier age. The child is characterized by increased capriciousness.
Already at 2 years of age, mom and dad see that it is difficult to interest the kid with something, he is distracted from the game, turns on a chair, is in constant motion. Usually such a child is very restless, noisy, but sometimes a 2-year-old baby is surprised by his silence, lack of desire to come into contact with his parents or peers.
Child psychologists believe that sometimes this behavior precedes the appearance of motor and speech disinhibition. At the age of two, parents may observe signs of aggression and reluctance to obey adults in the child, ignoring their requests and demands.
From the age of 3, manifestations of egoistic features become noticeable. The child tends to dominate peers in collective games, provokes conflict situations, hinders everyone.
Preschool child hyperactivity often manifests impulsive behavior. Such children interfere in conversations and affairs of adults, do not know how to play collective games. Especially painful for parents are the tantrums and whims of a 5-6-year-old kid in crowded places, his stormy expression of emotions in the most inappropriate environment.
In preschool children, restlessness is clearly manifested, they do not pay attention to the comments made, interrupt, shout over peers. It is completely useless to reprimand and scold for the hyperactivity of a 5-6-year-old child, he simply ignores the information and poorly assimilates the rules of behavior. Any activity attracts him for a short time, he is easily distracted.
Behavioral disorder, often having a neurological background, can occur in different ways.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
The following behavioral features are characteristic of this violation:
- I listened to the task, but could not repeat it, immediately forgetting the meaning of what was said;
- cannot concentrate and carry out the assignment, although he understands what his task is;
- does not listen to the interlocutor;
- does not respond to comments.
Hyperactivity without attention deficit
This disorder is characterized by such signs: fussiness, verbosity, increased motor activity, the desire to be in the center of events. Also characterized by frivolous behavior, risk appetite and adventure, which often creates life-threatening situations.
Hyperactivity with attention deficit disorder
Denoted in the medical literature by the abbreviation ADHD. One can speak about such a syndrome if the child has the following behavioral features:
- can not focus on a specific task;
- throws the started job, not finishing it to the end;
- selective attention, unstable;
- carelessness, inattention in all;
- does not pay attention to the addressed speech, ignores the offers of assistance in carrying out the task, if it causes him difficulty.
Disturbance of attention and hyperactivity at any age make it difficult to organize your work, to carry out the task accurately and correctly, without being distracted by external interference. In everyday life, hyperactivity and attention deficit lead to forgetfulness, frequent loss of their things.
Disturbance of attention with hyperactivity is fraught with difficulties in performing even the simplest instructions. Such children are often in a hurry, make rash acts that can harm themselves or others.
At any age, this behavioral disturbance interferes with social contacts. Due to hyperactivity in preschool children attending kindergarten, participation in collective games with peers, communication with them and educators is difficult. Therefore, a visit to the kindergarten becomes a daily psychotrauma, which can adversely affect the further development of the personality.
Schoolchildren suffer from school performance, attending school causes only negative emotions. The desire to learn, learn new things disappears, teachers and classmates are annoying, contact with them has only a negative connotation. The child becomes self-contained or becomes aggressive.
The impulsiveness of a child’s behavior sometimes represents a threat to his health. This is especially true for children who break toys, conflict, fight with other children and with adults.
If you do not seek help from a specialist, a person with age may form a psychopathic personality type. Hyperactivity in adults is usually born in childhood. Every fifth child with this disorder, the symptoms persist and at maturity.
Often there are such features of hyperactivity:
- tendency to aggression towards others (including parents);
- suicidal tendencies;
- inability to participate in the dialogue, to make a constructive joint decision;
- lack of planning and organization skills;
- forgetfulness, frequent loss of necessary things;
- failure to solve problems that require mental stress;
- fussiness, agility, irritability;
- fatigue, tearfulness.
Disturbance of attention and hyperactivity of the baby become noticeable to parents from an early age, but the diagnosis is made by a neurologist or a psychologist. Usually hyperactivity in a child of 3 years, if it occurs, is no longer in doubt.
Diagnosing hyperactivity is a multi-step process. Anamnesis data is collected and analyzed (during pregnancy, childbirth, the dynamics of physical and psychomotor development, diseases carried by the child). The specialist is important the opinion of the parents themselves about the development of the baby, the assessment of his behavior at 2 years, at 5 years.
The doctor needs to figure out how to adapt to kindergarten. During the reception, parents should not touch the child, make comments to him. It is important for the physician to see his natural behavior. If the baby has reached 5 years of age, a child psychologist will conduct tests to determine attentiveness.
The final diagnosis is made by a neurologist and child psychologist after receiving the results of electroencephalography and MRI of the brain. These examinations are necessary to exclude neurological diseases, which may result in impaired attention and hyperactivity.
Laboratory methods are also important:
- determining the presence of lead in the blood to prevent intoxication;
- biochemical analysis of blood for thyroid hormones;
- complete blood count to rule out anemia.
Special methods can be applied: consultation of an oculist and audiologist, psychological testing.
If the diagnosis of "hyperactivity" is set, it is necessary to conduct complex therapy. It includes medical and educational activities.
Specialists in child neurology and psychology will explain to parents how to deal with the hyperactivity of their offspring. Relevant knowledge should also be available to kindergarten teachers and teachers in schools. They should teach parents the correct behavior with the child, help overcome difficulties in communicating with him. Specialists will help the student to master the techniques of relaxation and self-control.
It is necessary to praise and encourage the kid for any success and good deeds. Underline the positive qualities of character, support any positive undertakings. You can keep a diary with your child, where to record all of his achievements. In a calm and benevolent tone, talk about the rules of behavior and communication with others.
From the age of 2, the baby should get used to the daily routine, sleep, eat and play at a certain time.
From the age of 5 it is desirable that he has his own living space: a separate room or a corner fenced off from the common room. The house should be calm, quarrels of parents and scandals are unacceptable. It is advisable to transfer the student to a class with fewer students.
To reduce hyperactivity in 2-3 years, children need a sports area (wall bars, children’s bars, rings, rope). Exercise and games will help relieve tension and spend energy.
What parents should not do:
- constantly pull up and scold, especially with strangers;
- humiliate the child with mocking or rude remarks;
- constantly speak with the child strictly, give instructions in the orderly tone;
- to prohibit something without explaining to the child the motive of its decision;
- give too complex tasks;
- require exemplary behavior and only excellent grades in school;
- perform household chores that were entrusted to the child if he did not fulfill them;
- to accustom to the idea that the main task is not to change behavior, but to receive a reward for obedience;
- apply methods of physical impact in disobedience. Read more about the effect of physical punishment on children →
Drug treatment of hyperactivity syndrome in children plays only a supporting role. It is prescribed in the absence of the effect of behavioral therapy and special training.
Atomoksetin is used to eliminate the symptoms of ADHD, but its use is possible only on prescription, there are undesirable effects. Results appear after about 4 months of regular use.
If the baby is diagnosed with this, psychostimulants can also be given. They are used in the morning. In severe cases, tricyclic antidepressants are used under medical supervision.
Games with hyperactive children
Even with board and quiet games, the hyperactivity of a 5-year-old child is noticeable. He constantly attracts the attention of adults with erratic and purposeless gestures. Parents need to spend more time with the baby, communicate with him. Very useful joint games.
Effectively alternating calm board games – lotto, picking up puzzles, checkers, with outdoor games – badminton, football. Summer provides many opportunities for helping a hyperactive child.
During this period, you need to strive to provide the child with country rest, long hikes, to teach swimming. During walks, talk more with your child, tell him about plants, birds, natural phenomena.
Parents need to make adjustments in nutrition. The diagnosis made by specialists implies the need to respect meal times. The diet should be balanced, the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates – to meet the age norm.
It is advisable to exclude fried, spicy and smoked dishes, carbonated drinks. Eat less sweet, especially chocolate, increase the amount of vegetables and fruits consumed.
Hyperactivity at school age
Increased hyperactivity in children of school age forces parents to seek medical help. After all, the school makes to the growing up person completely different requirements than preschool institutions. He must memorize a lot, get new knowledge, solve complex problems. From the child requires attentiveness, perseverance, ability to concentrate.
Attention impairment and hyperactivity are noticed by the teacher. The child in the classroom is dispersed, motively active, does not respond to comments, interferes with the lesson. The hyperactivity of younger schoolchildren at the age of 6-7 years leads to the fact that children do not master the material poorly and do their homework carelessly. Therefore, they constantly receive comments for poor performance and bad behavior.
Teaching children with hyperactivity often becomes a serious problem. A real struggle begins between such a child and the teacher, because the student does not want to fulfill the requirements of the teacher, and the teacher is fighting for discipline in the classroom.
Problems with classmates
Difficult adaptation in the children’s team, it is difficult to find a common language with peers. Schoolboy begins to withdraw into himself, becomes secretive. In collective games or discussions, he stubbornly defends his point of view, not listening to the opinions of others. At the same time, he often behaves rudely, aggressively, especially if they disagree with his opinion.
Correction of hyperactivity is necessary for the successful adaptation of the baby in the children’s team, good learning and further socialization. It is important to examine the baby at an early age and conduct timely professional treatment. But in any case, parents should realize that most of all the child needs understanding and support.
Author: Olga Schepina, doctor, especially for