All young children are active, and it’s normal for them to have lots of energy.
ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder that ﬁrst appears in childhood and is most commonly identiﬁed in the preschool and early school years. All children show the symptoms of ADHD to some degree so it can be hard to diagnose in a child truly affected by the condition.
All people, especially kids, get restless and distracted from time to time. But some children with ADHD may find it hard to concentrate.
Learn more about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Children should be active on a daily basis; getting lots of exercise is good for their physical and mental health and it's fun. Some children suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is what used to be known as 'hyperactivity'.
A lot of children who have behaviour problems and difficulty concentrating do not have ADHD or they may be suffering from only a mild form of ADHD. The challenge for parents and health professionals is to recognise the difference between normal behaviour problems and ADHD symptoms, which require early treatment.
Below are some tips on coping with a child with ADHD:
- Provide structure - try to ensure that rules and instructions are clear, brief and, where possible, presented in charts and lists.
- Maintain a good relationship – this will assist with their self-esteem and help them to be more cooperative
- Become a keen observer – notice those things that will help in managing behaviours and put in place strategies to manage the situation.
- Provide praise and positive reinforcement - this is important for all children, but particularly for children with ADHD.
You can also get information from:
- your doctor
- your local health district services including, community health centres or specialist child and adolescent mental health services (in hours)
- other specialists who work with children and adolescents such as paediatricians, child psychologists and school counsellors.
Last reviewed: October 2016