Hyperactivity in Children - 5 Things Caring Parents Can Do Right Now to Help their Kids
Hyperactivity in Children is On the Rise.
If you're like me, rather than accept this headline as a fact of life, you want to find out what you can do to change it. Recently a friend came to me and told me about the problems that she has with her hyperactive child. I came up with a plan for her that has proven quite effective and makes her feel like she has her daughter back. In this article, you'll learn five things that you can do immediately to help your child, so he is no longer at the mercy of fleeting impulses and so he learns how to achieve a state of mind that is calm, alert and centered.
Hyperactivity Among Children
Many factors contribute to the growing numbers of hyperactive children. For instance, research has shown that the quickly changing images on t.v. screens that are designed to capture and keep our attention for extended periods of time are a big factor because they train our brains to seek out constant stimulation. In fact for kids who are raised on t.v. and video games, real life pales in comparison to what is pre-imagined for you on the video screen. Add these factors to our fast-paced way of life with its focus on instant gratification and you have a setup for hyperactivity.
Why Hyperactivity Among Children is Dangerous to Brain Development
Hyperactivity is bad for kids because our bodies and brains operate best when we are in a calm, alert state of mind. This state of mind, often called "The Zone" by top athletes and peak performers is optimal because it is the state in which we feel and do our best. Being in a constant state of agitation (as hyperactive children are) is detrimental to the brain and its development. When you expose an agitated brain to experiences that are designed to agitate it more, you reinforce these neural pathways and exacerbate the symptoms. It may surprise you to know that this effects us at the cellular level. In fact, recent studies have shown that when we are in a constant state of agitation, our DNA actually compresses. This could be the link between stress and disease.
Counteracting Hyperactivity Among Children
Know that you understand the dangers of letting hyperactivity run its course, you can balance it by following this action plan:
- Set a limit on the number of hours of television your child watches daily. Some kids come home from school and watch t.v. for 4-5 hours every night. This means their developing brains are constantly exposed to the kind of stimulation that agitates them and leaves them hungrily searching for more. Allow 1-2 hours of t.v. time (no t.v. time is even better, but probably impractical), followed by some time spent playing, reading or enjoying the great outdoors. After school sports wins big here because it keeps kids active and gets them outside.
- Video game addiction is a growing problem. In countries like Korea, the government has created addiction centers dedicated solely to treating this disorder. Young people have actually died from playing video games excessively because they fail to move, their blood pools and causes a fatal heart attack. We have physical bodies and were designed to be active.
Like t.v., video games draw kids into a pre-imagined world where the measure of your worth often has to do with your capacity for violence. Make sure to censor the games your child plays and the amount of time he is allowed to play. In the very least, balance video game play with physical activity.
- Physical play is important. It's so important to development that Erik Erikson called it a child's job. Anyone who has ever been involved in a sport knows that doing so balances mood and relaxes the mind.
"Just being" in the great outdoors is a wonderful way to get a hyperactive child to wind down. Think about physical activities that you and your family can do together. This will be healthy for the entire family. Even walking the dog around the block and taking note of the beauty of nature is a great place to start.
- Serve your child a healthy diet that is made up of fresh foods that are full of vitamins and minerals. When possible, organic is best. Cut out sugary and packaged foods which can worsen hyperactivity in children.
Many parents have written in to say that giving their children a daily natural remedy that is designed to balance mood, curb impulsivity and restore proper brain function over time has accelerated the behavioral changes that they've seen in their children achieved through diet and regular exercise. greatly accelerates the changes that are achieved through diet and regular exercise.
As I explained to my friend who came to me for advice about her hyperactive child, the more times her child was exposed to what it feels like to be calm and alert, the more her brain is able to create this experience in the future. This is because every time your child has an experience of what it is to be calm, yet active, the more those neural pathways are reinforced. This is why a three-pronged approach of healthy diet, exercise and holistic remedies is so effective at reducing hyperactivity among children.
Although these suggestions may seem simplistic, taken together they are quite profound. Best of all, as parents learn to counteract hyperactivity in children, kids get to find out what it's like to approach life from a perspective that is calm, active, yet centered. As their quality of life improves, they do better in school and their relationships with family, friends and teachers improve. About the author
Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting
which teaches parents how to raise children to act from integrity and strength. This is a strengths-based means of raising children that is fulfilling for kids and parents.
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