Hyperactivity in toddlers is a common disorder and every year, millions of children are diagnosed with the condition. The medical term for the condition is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and it can harm a child’s development, learning, and behaviour. ADHD can affect any child, although boys are three times more likely to develop the disorder than girls and if ADHD or another behavioral problem is already in the family, there is a greater risk a child will begin to show the symptoms of the disorder.
What is ADHD?
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding hyperactivity in children. Unfortunately, children who exhibit the symptoms of ADHD are often labelled as troublemakers and considered to be stupid or naughty. These are the kids who are disruptive in class because they find it impossible to sit still or concentrate on anything and they don’t listen.
What are the symptoms of hyperactivity in toddlers?
The condition usually begins to manifest at an early age, so if your toddler’s behaviour is challenging, the cause could be ADHD. Hyperactivity symptoms in toddlers are usually centred on behaviour and a toddler with ADHD will appear to be in constant motion. He will fidget and squirm, run around and find it impossible to sit still for any length of time. He might show signs of impulsive behaviour and not want to wait for things. ADHD toddlers also tend not to sleep very much and life with a hyperactive child can be utterly exhausting.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
Many toddlers and pre-school children behave in this way, but if a child’s behaviour is impacting on his life and yours in a negative manner and he has been behaving like this for more than six months and in a variety of different settings, he might be diagnosed with hyperactivity.
What is the treatment for hyperactivity?
ADHD treatment normally encompasses a combination of different approaches ranging from self-help behaviour management to medications designed to help manage the symptoms of ADHD. There are several different medications used to treat ADHD, including Ritalin and Concerta, but as with all medications, they can cause side effects and are not suitable for children under the age of 6, which means ADHD in toddlers must be managed differently.
Hyperactivity in toddlers and diet
Hyperactivity in toddlers treatment plans will focus on managing problem behaviours and ensuring they eat a healthy diet free from problem ingredients such as food additives. However, in terms of overall diet, research has not yet found a definite link between eliminating stimulating ingredients such as sugar and caffeine from the diet and a reduction in the symptoms of ADHD, so you may find that altering your toddler’s diet has little effect on his behaviour.
Family support for toddlers with ADHD
Having a child with ADHD can place enormous strain on the rest of the family. The stress of trying to deal with a hyperactive child on a daily basis can affect your relationship with your partner and other children often suffer from a lack of attention because the ADHD toddler is aggressive and demanding. If your child is affected by ADHD, it is important to take advantage of the many resources on offer for families. Speak to your doctor or social worker and always remember: you are not alone!