Hyperactivity is a common component of ADHD, characterized by impulsive behaviors that are typically apparent by the age of seven. Hyperactivity reportedly affects boys with ADHD two to three times more often than girls.1 Find out signs and symptoms of hyperactivity in a child, what causes hyperactivity, and some tips to consider for helping your child to self-regulate.
What is Hyperactivity in a Child?
Hyperactivity makes an individual move around constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate. Fidgeting, tapping, and excessively talking are all common behaviors in a hyperactive child, which may affect their ability to cooperate in the classroom and interact with peers. Hyperactivity may correlate to a decreased attention span and increased distractibility. It may also affect a child’s self-esteem if they are bullied because of it or if they are constantly reprimanded by teachers or parents.
Signs & Symptoms of Hyperactive Behavior
From fidgeting to excessive talking, there are many signs and symptoms that may indicate hyperactive behavior. Here are some hyperactive child symptoms to look out for:2
- Fidgeting, tapping, and squirming
- Difficulty staying seated for extended periods of time, such as in the classroom
- Always seeming to be in constant motion
- Excessive running or climbing at times deemed inappropriate
- Trouble completing tasks or activities quietly
- Blurting and excessive talking
- Difficulty waiting his or her turn
- Tendency to interrupt others
What Causes Hyperactive Behavior?
Doctors are unsure what causes hyperactivity in a child with ADHD, though genetics and environmental factors may play a role.3 Parents with ADHD are likely to have a child with the same condition: one 2016 study found that 41.3 percent of mothers and 51 percent of fathers with ADHD also had children with ADHD.4 There are also several factors that have been shown to worsen hyperactive behavior, such as poor nutrition, disjointed sleep, and excessive screen time. Here are some potential triggers for hyperactivity:
- High sugar intake can cause a spike in glucose levels and release adrenaline into the system, making kids with attention issues more sensitive to the effects of sugar and prone to hyperactive behavior
- While artificial food colors do not cause ADHD, studies show that they may contribute significantly to ADHD symptoms and have a “deleterious effect on classroom climate”5
- Lack of sleep may also contribute to hyperactivity and lack of focus in a child, giving the feeling of being “wired and tired”
- Stress is also highly related to ADHD and may exacerbate symptoms like hyperactivity6
- Excessive screen time has also been linked to a higher incidence of hyperactivity in children7
Screen Time & Hyperactivity
From tablets and smart phones to computers and television sets, screens seem to be unavoidable. And while some programming is designed to be educational and entertaining for even the youngest audience members, there is extensive research that shows excessive screen time may be doing more harm than good, especially when it comes to ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity.
In one 2019 Alberta study, researchers found that by the age of five, children who spent two hours or more looking at a screen each day were 7.7 times more likely to meet the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis when compared to children who spent just 30 minutes or less each day.8
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Young children aren’t the only vulnerable viewers either. Another study found that frequent use of digital media by adolescents might also increase their odds of developing symptoms of ADHD.9
Tips for Calming Hyperactivity
Many doctors prescribe stimulant medication to treat ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity. While these medications may improve symptoms for some, they come with a wide range of potential side effects like sleep problems, decreased appetite, headaches, and moodiness. A gentle yet impactful alternative to such medications is the non-prescription homeopathic medication Brillia, which offers a simple and effective approach to reducing anxiety, irritability, and hyperactivity while improving attention and focus.
The active ingredient in Brillia consists of antibodies to the brain-specific S100 protein (S100B), which is an important regulator of various different intracellular and extracellular brain processes. Studies show that levels of this S100 protein tend to be out of balance in children with ADHD. Brillia works by restoring this balance in a targeted manner, so that no other systems in the body are affected and no harmful side effects must be endured. Because there are no harsh chemicals used in this homeopathic medication, Brillia is available without an official diagnosis and it has no contraindications with other medications.
Brillia works best when combined with healthy lifestyle factors outlined in our holistic 5-Pillar methodology. Implement the following practices into your child’s routine to calm hyperactivity and other ADHD symptoms:
- Feed your child a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in certain types of fish, flaxseed and other foods
- Ensure your child is getting adequate sleep
- Minimize screen time and keep all screens out of the bedroom so that your child’s sleep is not negatively affected
- Introduce mindfulness practices and relaxations techniques to your child, such as yoga, tai chi, slowed breathing, and more
- Support your child with routine and structure, as unexpected changes in routine can exacerbate hyperactivity and anxiety
- Encourage your child to exercise every day
- Create a cool-down zone or quiet area where they can go when they start feeling restless
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a certificate in Narrative Therapy. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.