How can parents calm a hyperactive child?

Often, parents and teachers consider hyperactive just an active child who is spinning in the classroom, noisy and restless.

What signs will help identify a truly hyperactive child?

Almost always, hyperactivity is accompanied by mental retardation (it is difficult for a child to master the educational program of his age, therefore, basically, such children study according to an adapted basic educational program (AEP) for children with mental retardation (at least until the end of primary school (grades 1-4) The intellect of such a child may be much higher than the intellect of his peers, but in certain, narrow areas.For example, such a child can draw beautifully, far ahead of his peers, have encyclopedic knowledge about the world of animals and plants, about natural phenomena, write even complex words without error. But in other areas he will have a significant gap.For example, due to the imperfection of fine motor skills, he may not be given a letter for a long time, although he will write perfectly in block letters; if he does not have a relationship with mathematics, then it will take a lot of effort to get him to do this subject; due to weak arbitrary attention and increased distractibility, a hyperactive child will constantly make mistakes in the account; it is extremely difficult for him to sit at a desk, almost always he violates discipline and is generally “turned off” from what is happening in his class, doing his favorite thing, for example, reading. Reading may not be good.

The mental retardation of such a child is a consequence of significant emotional and volitional disorders. If just an active child can control himself, and, when visiting, sit quietly at the request of his mother, for example, then a hyperactive child controls himself with great difficulty, quickly breaks down and gives freedom to his unbridled energy. It can be compared to a nimble, mischievous monkey that sometimes climbs right under the ceiling, jumps and screams all day long. It is very difficult for him to sit still, he is constantly tense, anxious – this often causes him to observe a syndrome of obsessive movements (sucking fingers, muscle, vocal tics, restless legs syndrome, obsessive drawing, and much more).

Such a child is very emotional, impulsive, impressionable. If he watched some cartoon that made an indelible impression on him, then for a long time he can be haunted by echolalia from this cartoon (pronouncing the dialogues of cartoon characters from stories that impressed him), drawing on this topic, during school lessons he is also thinking about this cartoon, temporarily losing the ability to assimilate knowledge).

Due to increased excitability, he often does not hear the instruction, and adults get the impression that the child does not understand it. For a short time, due to excitement and increased anxiety, he may experience a neurotic psychosomatic disorder in the form of imaginary deafness or loss of speech. In such cases, a hyperactive child is mistaken for an autistic child.

However, a significant difference between him and an autist is sociability. By the age of 5-6, he makes good contact with adults, asks a lot of questions, enters into games with children. If it is comfortable for an autist to be in his “shell”, then in a hyperactive child, ignoring him by adults can cause an outbreak of aggression and bouts of disobedience. A hyperactive child lacks ritual behavior, a long obsession with one thing. His attention to everything is enough for 10, at best, 20 minutes.

For all my time working with such children, I have not seen any aggression directed at other children. Rather, he is more attacked by classmates because of his eccentricity.

Aggression manifests itself in him in the form of resistance when a parent or teacher forces him to perform some action (for example, he does not want to go to the canteen, and this reluctance may be accompanied by tantrums and wallowing on the floor).

It happens that in order to reduce excessive activity and anxiety, psychiatrists prescribe neuroleptics to such children. But there is an opinion that antipsychotics, at the same time, depress mental activity.

Is it possible to calm a child without taking antipsychotics?

It is unlikely that it will be possible to significantly calm him down, but you can achieve good results if you adhere to a system of certain actions:

Give the child nootropic drugs (after consulting with a psychiatrist);

Observe the regime of the day (a hyperactive child must have daytime sleep and go to bed no later than 9-10 pm);

Do not overload his psyche: the time spent at the computer or TV should not exceed 20-30 minutes a day (frequent change of images, eye strain causes a real confusion in the head of a hyperactive child, after which he cannot calm down for a long time); try to watch calm cartoons that do not cause affect in him, educational programs, relaxation videos on the theme of nature, do not overdo it with homework (if the child is in the 1st grade, you can study for 10 minutes at a time in 3 visits during the day) ;

Parent and teacher should be for such a child an example of calmness and balance. An unbalanced parent who is accustomed to resorting to physical punishment and screaming is a “perfect” activator of maladjustment, increased anxiety and excitability of a hyperactive child (you need to communicate with such a child calmly, slowly, patiently repeating several times). As education, you can use the token reward system. This is called operant learning, authored by a behaviorist . Burres Frederick Skinner. Operant learning has been successfully applied to change the behavior of even the most unstable individuals. The main thing in this process is to pinpoint the inappropriate behavior that we want to get rid of, clarify the new desired behavior and choose the right reinforcement regimens that will effectively affect the child, strictly adhere to this system. A change in destructive behavior in children, whose psyche is more labile than in an adult, can take up to 1 year, in more severe cases – from 2 years.

At home, the child should not be completely left to himself, he needs at least 1 hour of full parental attention per day. I had experience with one hyperactive boy during the period when he had a nervous breakdown. He admitted that his parents do not pay attention to him. Apparently this was the trigger for his aggravated behavior.

Swimming and water treatments perfectly soothe and relieve stress. It is good to combine them with exercises for emotional release and relaxation.

By adolescence, hyperactivity is significantly smoothed out, but some features can live in a person until the end of his days.

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