What is hyperactivity?

Hyperactive children have difficulty in observing and learning. They are unable to filter stimuli and are easily distracted. These children are usually very talkative, talk loudly and at inopportune moments.
They are always on the move, always doing something and are unable to stay silent. They are impulsive and do not stop to look or listen. Due to their seemingly endless reserves of energy, curiosity and need to explore things, they are more prone to injury and to break and damage things.
Hyperactive children do not have much patience. Their moods often fluctuate, making parents, teachers, adults and friends bear the brunt of their tantrums. These children form a quick attachment to people and need lots of attention to keep them calm.
It is important for parents to make hyperactive children understand social rules and expectations. The problem is that such children find it difficult to obey them. This behaviour is incidental and not deliberate.
For a hyperactive child and his family, a trip to an amusement park or supermarket can be potentially disastrous. There's just a lot going on and it is very stimulating at the same time. Due to an inability to concentrate and the constant bombardment of stimuli, a hyperactive child may become stressed.
With a constant desire to please, a hyperactive child is unable to control himself. He can be gradually discouraged from hyperactive behaviour. The child is usually intelligent, but you can't slow down the nervous system, which requires the mind's potential to complete a task.
A hyperactive child often feels isolated and segregated from his peers, but doesn't understand why he is so different. Such children are sometimes disturbed by their own disability. Unable to perform routine tasks at school, on the playground or at home, a hyperactive child can suffer from stress, depression and low self-esteem.
A behavioural specialist can help you distinguish between a normally active and energetic child and a hyperactive one. Even the smallest of children can run around and play happily for hours on end without showing any sign of fatigue or feeling sleepy.
An accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure that the child receives proper treatment. Ask the child's teacher to speak to the doctor or send you a written report.
A child specialist can usually make an accurate diagnosis.
To treat an overactive child, help him interact with family members and to make friends at school. Parents of hyperactive children are often worried and always on the alert. Consequently, it is easy to feel tired and frustrated at times.

Food guidelines
Start eliminating refined sugar and additives from your child's diet. Read the labels carefully and eliminate processed foods that contain colourants, preservatives and artificial sweeteners, as well as flavouring, which is commonly related to nitrates, sulphites and benzoates.
Studies show that more than 50 per cent of hyperactive children have fewer behavioural and sleep problems when they follow a restricted diet that does not contain artificial additives and chemicals, chocolate, monosodium glutamate, preservatives and caffeine.

The first step is to look for a competent psychologist and get your child assessed so that you can understand what is going on.
Before any treatment is prescribed, a physical examination should be done to rule out other causes of erratic behaviour, such as a chronic middle ear infection, sinusitis, visual impairment, hearing aids and other neurological problems.
Make the child participate in projects that he likes, to help him concentrate. Learning to focus will gradually change the way he sees the world. Seek his help to complete a project. This will help him feel competent and acquire a greater sense of self esteem. When he completes a task successfully, do not forget to compliment him. Verbal praise can be a great source of encouragement.

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