Some doctors will not give an attention-deficit hyperactivity diagnosis to preschool-aged children, reports Arlene Schusteff in the ADDitude magazine article, “Preschool-Age ADHD Children: Too Young for a Diagnosis?” All preschool-aged children exhibit signs and symptoms of ADHD. However, doctors and mental health professionals can diagnosis children with this disorder if they believe that a young child’s behavior is much more extreme than other children his age. With or without a diagnosis, parents and preschool teachers can use strategies to reduce the behavior.
Many young children who suffer from ADHD show signs of aggression, because they don’t know how to control their feelings. They become easily frustrated, have difficulty waiting their turns and act impulsively. Parents and teachers can reduce the aggression shown by ADHD preschool-aged children by giving them an alternative. For instance, say, “Use words instead of hitting.” Stay calm when talking to the child, reward good behavior and give the child consequences. If she uses her words, praise her. When she uses aggression, give her a short time-out and remind her that hitting isn’t allowed.
It’s extremely important that parents of preschool-aged children with ADHD communicate with preschool teachers on a regular basis, reports MayoClinic.com. Parents need to remember that preschool teachers are busy during the day, so they might forget to report on a child’s behavior. To get a short report, talk to the teacher for a minute or two when picking up the child at the end of the day. If the preschool teacher is swamped at that moment, parents can wait around and ask their child to show them around the classroom or something he made that day.
If a child has a professional diagnosis of ADHD, his parents shouldn’t hide that information from the school. They should make the director of the preschool aware as well as the child’s teacher. If they don’t know much about the diagnosis, give them tips on how to handle certain behaviors and symptoms.
Stick to a Routine
Young children need a consistent routine, and this is even truer for children with ADHD. Helpguide.org recommends setting a schedule for meal times, play and bed, so the child understands what to expect. Preschool teachers can reduce negative symptoms of this disorder by adhering to a routine in the classroom, and parents can use this technique at home. Even when the child doesn’t have school, parents should try to get her up, feed her and put her to bed at the same time each day. This will help her transition back into school after weekends and holidays.