There’s a fine line between a naturally active child and a child who is affected by hyperactivity disorder.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tends to become noticeable early on in childhood, at around 2 or three years old, but because most kids are naturally prone to daydreaming, fidgety behavior and a short attention span, ADHD is often not recognized until much later on in life.
The Signs Of ADHD
Signs of ADHD include what are normally looked at as behavioral problems such as difficulty concentrating or following instructions and the inability to control inappropriate behavior such as running in the halls or constantly interrupting conversations.
It can be frustrating for a child with ADHD to be criticized or punished for such behavior if parents, teachers or other caretakers aren’t aware of their disorder.
Monitor Your Child
For this reason, it is important to pay close attention to unusually rowdy or seemingly disrespectful behavior. If behavioral problems are exhibited only occasionally in certain situations, your child is probably just going through normal “kid behavior.”
However, if you notice that your child is having difficulty concentrating, both at school and at home, and consistently seems to have trouble following directions or controlling unruly behavior; it may be time to speak to your healthcare provider about possible causes.
While ADHD isn’t usually seen as a positive thing, it doesn’t have to be a disability. By finding ways to channel hyperactivity into productive activities, you can teach your child to use their energy as fuel for creativity.
Here are five ways to meet your child’s need for more physical movement and help them to harness their energy and gain more control over their impulses.
Physical activity is essential for a child with ADHD, so pretty much any sport from biking to swimming will be beneficial for your child, although there are some sports that are even more effective than others.
Martial arts for example, like Karate, Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do can be extremely beneficial due to the perfect balance of mental concentration along with physical exertion that they require. This can help kids to learn how to focus their energy and learn self-discipline and control.
Team sports like football or basketball are also great, as they require the child to get involved and work together with others (which is good for their social skills).
2. Dance, acting or music classes
Depending on where your child’s interests lie, learning a musical instrument, taking drama classes or learning coordination through dancing can all be excellent afterschool activities.
Research has shown that playing a musical instrument requires both sides of the brain to work at the same time, which helps train the brain to multi-task, while dancing allows kids to get their energy out while still remaining in control of their movements.
Acting, while less physical than dance or sport, helps a child to practice their memorization skills and get in touch with their creative side. Being allowed to act out different characters and scenes helps them to channel their energy and emotions into something productive.
3. Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts projects are great for teaching children to act on their ideas and turn creative concepts into something concrete. Whether they enjoy painting, model building, woodworking or sewing, taking an idea and seeing it through to completion can be extremely motivating for any child but especially for a child with ADHD.
It shows them that they are capable of using all their energy a driving force for something creative and productive.
4. Camping and outdoor activities
There is nothing like fresh air, nature and physical activity to help your hyperactive child to use their energy for something positive. Taking your child camping is a great opportunity to teach them about nature and help them develop some practical skills.
If you don’t have the time to personally take your child on nature walks or go hiking and camping as often as you’d like, scouting camps are a great way to ensure that your child doesn’t miss out on those great experiences. Scouting also helps kids to learn team work and improved social skills.
5. Helping around the home
If your child comes home from school practically bouncing off the walls with energy, don’t sit them down in front of the TV or allow them to play video games.
Instead, ask them if they’d like to help you get dinner ready or do a few simply chores like dusting or vacuuming. Kids often enjoy this kind of quality time with a parent, and it also gives them a sense of responsibility and helps them take pride in their work.
About the Author
Jane Bongato is part of the team behind Open Colleges, Australia’s provider of counseling courses and childcare. Jane is an early childhood educator with a background in Psychology and closely works with children who have special needs for about 6 years now. She enjoys reading, painting or meeting friends during her spare time.