Now that ADHD awareness month is over and hopefully you have a better understanding of what ADHD is and isn’t, you can begin to delve into the specifics of how ADHD affects your child. Hyperactivity is a common misunderstood trait of ADHD. The constant motion and incessant speech can be viewed as misbehaving, but hyperactivity isn’t a choice. It is hardwired and part of the diagnosis of ADHD. Hyperactivity can be viewed as excessive energy and can manifest in many ways. A hyperactive child may jump around, is in constant quick motion and may even fall out of his/her chair. However, sometimes hyperactivity isn’t quite so obvious. Some hyperactive children simply get up out of their chair in school to sharpen a pencil many times or can’t quite seem to sit at the table at dinner for the entire meal. Other hyperactive children may talk incessantly and have difficulty quieting their minds. They may be thinking about many thoughts and ideas at once.
Parenting a child with hyperactivity can be challenging. The first step is to understand what hyperactivity is and how to nourish it. Hyperactivity isn’t a choice; it is part of the way many children with ADHD need to function. Helping your child to “feed” their hyperactivity actually helps him/her focus because he/she is not distracted by the need to move around. Feeding the hyperactivity means providing your child with an outlet for movement. This can be done by providing ample time for exercise, discovering fidgets that your child can manipulate quietly, and teaching your child when he/she feels the need to move it is OK to do so. Communicating with your child’s teacher about your child’s need to move around can be tremendously helpful because there are many natural ways a child can relieve some hyperactivity in class. He/she can hand out papers for the teacher, take a walk to the bathroom, or run an errand for the teacher throughout the school day. Help your child and those around him/her to understand that hyperactivity is not a behavior; it is a physical need to release some energy. Nourishing your child’s energy, rather than suppressing it, will show your child that you understand he/she is not misbehaving and will ultimately make everyone happier and more comfortable.