Featured in Pre-schoolers
Pre-schoolers who suffer from hyperactivity disorders have difficulty sitting still (even if it is only for a few moments), may chatter excessively and may be impatient to wait their turn, causing them to cut in lines or blurt out answers. Now these behaviors are not only attributed to hyperactive pre-schoolers but at any time can be exhibited by any pre-schooler. This can cause the diagnosis of hyperactivity hard to make. One distinguishing factors between a hyperactive pre-schooler and a pre-schooler with a hyperactivity disorder is that pre-schoolers with a hyperactivity disorder do not settle do at all through the day – even during nap time and meal time. Most pre-schoolers will take a break to eat, read a story or watch their favorite show, but those with a hyperactivity disorder will not.
Methods of Discipline
Pre-schoolers tend to show improved abilities to follow rules and have a better understanding of consequences however, disciplining children at the age level can be fairly tricky for parents. Nonetheless, consistent discipline is imperative at this stage.
1. One strategy of discipline is to create a list of house rules that everyone in the family must abide by, including the pre-schooler. One such rule may be “Keep your hands to yourself unless you are using them to touch someone gently”. Another may be “Only talk when it is your turn”.
2. Ensure that limits are set about the kinds of things they can do by themselves and what they need an adult to help them with. Be explicit about what you expect of your child, especially prior to entering a different situation. Pre-schoolers, especially hyperactive ones, will need you to remind them of the rules quite often – this is normal.
3. Using praise and ignoring mild behaviors can be very effective for hyperactive pre-schoolers. When your pre-schooler does something that is positive, be sure to reinforce the behavior with praise and encouragement.
4. Don’t underestimate the value of just simply ignoring an unwanted behavior (as long as it is a “mild” behavior), it can result in the child choosing not to use that behavior in the future. These forms of communication cues are easily picked up by from pre-schoolers.
5. Get your child involved in extracurricular activities and sports to give them an outlet for excessive energy. Try high energy activities like, soccer, swimming and baseball. There may even be some circus classes in your community which are a fantastic way for your kids to release pent-up energy.
Helping your child cope
Helping your pre-schooler with hyperactivity can be not only time-consuming but may also be frustrating and exasperating at times. One effective method of helping your child cope with hyperactivity may be to use a reward system. The rewards can be as simple as stickers or special privileges but should not typically include food. One example of a reward could be letting your pre-schooler stay up 15 minutes past his or her bedtime because of something positive that he or she did during the day. Surprise rewards can also be very successful motivators.
Time outs don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing for hyperactive pre-schoolers. Sometimes a bit of time alone can be very calming for some children. Just be sure to explain what is going on with the pre-schooler so he or she will know for next time what happened to put them into a time out.
As always, redirection of a pre-schooler’s attention may be one of the quickest ways to change an unwanted behavior. Use the pre-schooler’s short attention span to your advantage!