HYPERACTIVITY. What should parents do?

While working as a child psychologist, I observe such a picture that the number of requests from parents on the issue of hyperactive behavior of children is increasing from year to year. Some parents come for a consultation with a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Someone himself diagnoses his child. Of course, the doctor makes the diagnosis. A psychologist can help parents understand this issue.

Most often, a hyperactive child has: 

– excessive motor activity, inability to sit in one place, anxiety and fussiness, numerous extraneous movements that the child often does not notice; 

– excessive talkativeness;

– reduced sleep duration;

– Impaired motor coordination and lack of fine motor skills (inability to tie shoelaces, button up, use scissors and a needle; lack of handwriting); 

– attention disorders, distraction with frequent switching from one activity to another, forgetfulness, inability to listen and concentrate, often loses personal belongings;

– impulsiveness (interrupts others, can get up and leave the group without permission, does not know how to regulate his actions and obey the rules, does not know how to wait, often raises his voice, mood often changes);

– Difficulties in mastering reading, writing, counting.

Due to misunderstanding on the part of others, hyperactive children may develop an aggressive model of protective behavior. 

A characteristic feature of the mental activity of hyperactive children is cyclicality. Children can work productively for 5-15 minutes, then the brain rests for 3-7 minutes, accumulating energy for the next cycle. At this point, the child is distracted and does not respond to the teacher or adult. Then mental activity is restored, and the child is ready to work within 5-15 minutes. What can parents do to help their child?

 Practical recommendations for parents of a hyperactive child (Sirotyuk A.L. Children’s hyperactivity: reasons, recommendations):

Changing the behavior of an adult and his attitude towards a child:

– show sufficient firmness and consistency in education;

– remember that the child’s actions are not intentional;

– do not give the child reactive instructions, avoid the words “no” and “no”;

– build a relationship with your child on mutual understanding and trust;

– react to the child’s actions in an unexpected way (joke, repeat the child’s actions, take a picture of him, leave him alone in the room, etc.);

– repeat your request automatically with the same words many times;

– do not insist that the child must apologize for the offense;

– listen to what the child wants to say;

– use visual stimulation to reinforce verbal instructions.

2. Changes in the psychological microclimate in the family:

– give your child enough emotional attention;

– spend leisure time with the whole family;

– do not allow quarrels in the presence of the child.

3. Organization of the daily routine and place for classes:

– establish a firm daily routine for the child and for all family members;

– show your child more often how best to complete the task without being distracted;

– Reduce the influence of distractions while the child is doing the task;

 protect hyperactive children from prolonged computer use and watching television;

– avoid crowds of people as much as possible;

– remember that overwork contributes to a decrease in self-control and an increase in hyperactivity.

4. Special behavioral program:

– Come up with a flexible system of rewards for a job well done and punishments for bad behavior. You can use a point or sign system, keep a self-control diary;

– do not resort to physical punishment! If there is a need to resort to punishment, then it is advisable to use quiet sitting for a certain time (5-10 minutes) in a specially designated place (chair, chair) after committing an act. Do not punish the child by depriving him of a walk or food;

– Praise your child more often. The threshold of sensitivity to negative stimuli is very low, therefore hyperactive children do not perceive reprimands and punishment, but they are sensitive to rewards;

– Make a list of the child’s responsibilities and hang a sheet on the wall, sign a bilateral agreement (child-parents) for certain types of work;

– educate children in the skills of managing anger and aggression;

– do not try to prevent the consequences of the child’s forgetfulness;

– gradually expand responsibilities, having previously discussed them with the child;

– do not allow to postpone the task for another time;

– do not give the child instructions that do not correspond to his level of development, age and abilities;

– help the child to start the assignment, as this is the most difficult stage;

– do not give several instructions at the same time. The task, which is given to a child with impaired attention, should not have a complex structure and consist of several links;

– Tell the hyperactive child about his problems and teach him how to cope with them.

Children with hyperactivity syndrome have sufficiently high compensatory mechanisms, for the activation of which certain conditions must be met: provision of emotionally neutral upbringing without intellectual overload; adherence to the daily routine and sufficient time to sleep; appropriate medication support; development of individual assistance to a child from neurologists, psychologists, parents; timely and complete neuropsychological correction.

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