It's gained a lot of attention over the last few years, and hyperactivity in children has encouraged much debate with numerous causes and treatments suggested.
Hyperactivity in children is gaining more attention and much debate - is it too much sugar, bad parenting or something more? Image credit: Kriss Szkurlatowski/sxc.hu
Are children simply eating too much sugar? Is it bad parenting? Should the children be medicated? Are we making excuses for bad behaviour?
While many people have encountered a childhood hyperactivity, not many people know much about it, how to manage it, or why it occurs.
Childhood hyperactivity is categorised by a number of symptoms, but almost all of them fall into three major categories: impulsive behaviour, difficulty paying attention, and exerting more activity than usual or expected for a particular situation, hence, hyperactivity.
Lately medication has been the 'go-to' cure for children deemed hyperactive, and much of the time doctors are prescribing medications such as Adderall or Ritalin. In some children this appears to solve the problem, but is medication always the answer? Many of the prescribed medications have adverse side effects leading many parents to seek alternative therapies.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies can be effective and most have no side effects at all. Additionally, behavioral modification and adjusting diets and environments can go a long way toward improving their behavior. Medication simply just doesn't work for many children.
Managing a child's hyperactivity is more than just holding back the sweets. Image credit: Fousik/sxc.hu
Different strategies are needed for coping with hyperactivity among children if you're not going to rely on medication. For instance, it's very important to make sure that your child sleeps well and consistently. Consistent bedtimes, meal times, and monitoring sugar intake can all be very important. Creating an overstimulating evening prior to bedtime (video games, vigorous play, sweets) can result in many children being up half the night.
Parents and teachers dealing with hyperactivity in children should also take a look at their overall diet. Avoid offering children with this behavior meals which are high in sugars, preservatives or refined carbohydrates, and sweet drinks.
This is a smart idea for most kids, but especially important for those dealing with hyperactivity. Also removing distractions can go a long way towards helping hyperactive kids deal with their problems and have an easier time.
Enforcing a strict 'quiet time' without phone, handheld games or iPads prior to bedtime can help settle your child. Image credit Lonora/sxc.hu
Enforcing a 'quiet time' 2 hours prior to bedtime with all electronics and games put away, or implementing a traditional bedtime story can also help settle a hyperactive child. Having a television or handheld games in a child's bedroom will encourage activity and mental stimulation.
Encouraging and teaching the child methods to calm themselves, such as breathing exercises, meditation or yoga can also be helpful, as can focused sports or exercise routines as they assist in burning extra energy.
Hyperactivity among children is a growing problem that needs our attention. It's time to pay better attention to the little factors that can influence kids' attention spans, activity levels, and behavior and make corrections to help them.