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Hyperactivity and children

Alternative Names

Children and hyperactivity

Information

Toddlers and young children often are very active and have a short attention span. This type of behavior is normal for their age. Providing lots of healthy active play for your child can sometimes help.

Parents may question whether the child is just more active than most children, or whether their child has hyperactivity that is part of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or another mental health condition.

It is always important to make sure that your child can see and hear well, and to make sure there are no stressful events at home or school that may explain the behavior.

However, if the behaviors below have been present for a while or are becoming worse, the first step is to see your child's health care provider:

  • Constant motion, which often seems to have no purpose
  • Disruptive behavior at home or in school
  • Moving around at an increased speed
  • Problems sitting through class or finishing tasks that are typical for your child's age
  • Wiggling or squirming all of the time

References

Cunningham N, Jensen P. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB,Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 30.

Updated: 2/21/2013

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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