ADHD and Your Toddler: What Parents in Singapore Need to Know
Learn how to spot the symptoms of ADHD in your toddler, and discover ways for dealing with it.
Nowadays, more and more kids are being diagnosed to have ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We discuss how you can spot possible signs of ADHD in your young kids, and how you can deal with them.
Signs of ADHD in toddlers
- A toddler with ADHD will have difficulty finishing a task, even the simplest ones. A toddler’s attention span is short, to say the least, but someone with ADHD will be looking to the next task before really even starting the present one. They don’t sit still for a short story or don’t have the attention span to help stir a bowl of cookie dough.
- A toddler with ADHD will likely have a more difficult time in following instructions and processing information to the extent others his/her age do.
- Toddlers with ADHD will often talk constantly just for the sake of talking. No, this doesn’t mean the toddler who asks a million questions or repeatedly asks ‘why’ has ADHD. The child with ADHD will ramble on and on about whatever comes into their head and repeat things over and over.
- A toddler with ADHD will also be constantly on the move. Jumping on the bed, off the furniture, fidgeting, wiggling, playing with their food… they are simply incapable of sitting still. NOTE: This is the norm for a child with ADHD, not a toddler excited to go to the park.
- Children with ADHD are often the most creative and imaginative. Their thoughts are on rapid-fire mode and they want to act on all of them. They will often be the ones to think up wild stories to tell, draw pictures of imaginary animals and will be able to multi-task as they get older.
- Children with ADHD will also hear what you say even though they seem to be in another universe.
A doctor’s diagnosis
One of the worst things you can do though is to self-diagnose your child.
While some children younger than age 7 have been diagnosed with ADHD, these cases are the exception to the rule.
The reason? It takes time to correctly diagnose ADHD because the behaviours associated with this condition are evaluated over a period of time.
Doctors understand that when a toddler goes through a phase of hyperactivity it doesn’t necessarily mean they have ADHD. Generally, it means they’re just going through a phase, and that they’ll grow out of it.
There are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD, making your home a calmer, less intense place of activity. Here are some of them:
Alter the child’s diet
Eliminating processed foods with dyes and chemicals can help tremendously.
Our bodies were designed to run on fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products, so junk food should be an exceptional treat. Children whose diet is monitored are often easier to be managed, without any medicinal measures being taken.
Alter the child’s environment
Make sure they are not overly-stimulated with bright colours, loud music, fast-moving video games or television and other such things. Encourage them to use their imagination. Providing a variety of hands-on activities to do at home will help as well.
Reward a child’s success
Giving tangible rewards for staying on task and exhibiting proper behaviour encourages the child, and helps provide incentive.
Medicate as a last resort
There are times when the condition is so disruptive to a child’s ability to function and learn that medication is necessary. This should be done as a last result after all other options have been explored.
Always consult your doctor
It is always best to seek medical advice, especially since articles like this are and should not consider the basis for any diagnosis or treatment. Your paediatrician will be able to provide you with more extensive information about children and ADHD, its diagnosis, ways to work with and around it, and how to help your child use their energy in a positive and constructive manner.
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