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How to Handle Hyperactive Kids

By James Patterson ; Updated June 13, 2017

Hyperactivity can sometimes be downplayed as just “kids being kids,” but attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—or ADHD—is something that around 5 percent of school-age children are dealing with, according to Ask Dr. Sears. Dealing with a hyperactive child means understanding and dealing with specific types of behavior before they get out of hand. One way parents can help their hyperactive child is by providing plenty of opportunities for physical activity.

Consult a doctor to officially rule out a diagnosis of ADHD. If your child has ADHD, your doctor can prescribe medication or behavioral therapy. If your child doesn’t have it, you can begin to deal with hyperactive behavior in other ways.

Establish concrete rules for the hyperactive child, complete with consequences for breaking those rules and rewards for keeping them. Develop a structured system of cause-and-effect to help the child understand how his actions affect his surroundings.

Teach breathing and relaxation techniques to the child. Instruct him on how to recognize signs of stress or stimulation and how to deal with them by taking deep breaths and focusing on areas of the body that feel tense or tight.

Use a “time-out” system to deal with bad behavior. Send the child to a corner or an isolated area for a certain period of time if he fails to follow a rule or commits unruly behavior. Explain to the child why and how the behavior was unacceptable after the time-out period is over.

Recognize and reward the child for good behavior instead of just catching him doing things that are wrong. Praise him for understanding and following rules and point out how his good behavior leads to positive results.

Warnings

Avoiding labeling your child as having ADHD without a proper diagnosis from a qualified doctor.

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