How to teach a hyperactive child to maintain attention

Why is ADHD dangerous?

Impaired attention and hyperactivity in children lead to the fact that a school-age child with normal or high intelligence has impaired reading and writing skills, cannot cope with school assignments, makes many mistakes in completed work and is not inclined to listen to the advice of adults. The child is a source of constant anxiety for those around him (parents, teachers, peers), as he interferes in other people’s conversations and activities, and overreacts to external stimuli (the reaction does not correspond to the situation). Such children have difficulty adapting to a team; their clear desire for leadership has no basis in fact. Due to their impatience and impulsiveness, they often come into conflict with peers and teachers, which aggravates existing learning disorders. A child with attention deficit is also unable to foresee the consequences of his behavior and does not recognize authorities, which can lead to antisocial acts. Antisocial behavior is especially common in adolescence, when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have an increased risk of developing persistent behavioral disorders and aggressiveness.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Often parents are faced with the fact that it is very difficult for their child to sit in one place, he moves a lot, fusses, fidgets, speaks very loudly, and often disturbs other children and adults. Such children are awkward in their movements, they have poor coordination, weak muscle control, so they drop, break, and often trip and fall. It is very difficult for such a child to concentrate on one thing, he is easily distracted, asks a lot of questions, but does not wait for an answer, but begins to do other things, which he also quickly abandons. All this happens in short periods of time. Sometimes it seems that this child’s energy is enough for several people, which is why such children are called hyperactive, and the disorder in general.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It is most likely that parents may encounter the first signs of increased activity at an early age of the child. Of course, any excited child whose energy is overflowing should not be classified as a child with disorders or diseases of the nervous system. If children are sometimes stubborn or disobedient, this is normal. Also consistent with the norm are cases where a child sometimes “walks around” in bed, although it is time to sleep, wakes up before dawn, is capricious or plays around in the store. However, if this condition cannot be eliminated on your own, the child is overly excitable, impulsive, etc., you need to seek help from specialists.

ADHD occurs in a large number of children (according to various studies, about 10% of children suffer from it) and greatly interferes with their social adaptation. This syndrome occurs in boys 4-5 times more often than in girls.

The initial manifestations of ADHD can sometimes be observed already in the first year of life. Such children are overly sensitive to various stimuli (for example, artificial light, sounds, various actions of the mother related to caring for the baby, etc.); characterized by loud crying, sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep, sleeping little, being excessively awake); may be slightly behind in motor development (1-2 months later than others they begin to roll over, crawl, walk), as well as in speech - they are inert, passive, and not very emotional.

In the first years of a child’s life, the main concern of parents is the excessive number of movements of the baby, their chaotic nature (motor restlessness). When observing such children, doctors notice a slight delay in their speech development (the kids later begin to express themselves in phrases); Children experience motor awkwardness (clumsiness) and later mastery of complex movements (jumping, etc.).

The age of three, even with normal development, is special for a child: on the one hand, during this period attention and memory actively develop, and on the other, the first developmental crisis is observed. The main problems of this period: along with increasing independence and activity, negativism, stubbornness and obstinacy are growing. The child actively defends the boundaries of influence on himself as an individual, his “I” is highlighted.

Therefore, often at 3-4 years old, parents consider his behavior normal and do not consult a doctor, and only when teachers begin to complain about the child’s uncontrollability, disinhibition, and inability to sit still during classes and complete a task, does this become an unpleasant surprise for parents. All these “unexpected” manifestations are explained by the inability of the nervous systems of a hyperactive child to cope with the new demands placed on him against the backdrop of increased physical and mental stress.

Therefore, often at 3-4 years old, parents consider his behavior normal and do not consult a doctor, and only when teachers begin to complain about the child’s uncontrollability, disinhibition, and inability to sit still during classes and complete a task, does this become an unpleasant surprise for parents. All these “unexpected” manifestations are explained by the inability of the nervous system of a hyperactive child to cope with the new demands placed on him against the backdrop of increased physical and mental stress.

Therefore, often at 3-4 years old, parents consider his behavior normal and do not consult a doctor, and only when teachers begin to complain about the child’s uncontrollability, disinhibition, and inability to sit still during classes and complete a task, does this become an unpleasant surprise for parents. All these “unexpected” manifestations are explained by the inability of the nervous system of a hyperactive child to cope with the new demands placed on him against the backdrop of increased physical and mental stress.

It should be borne in mind that the child does not fully foresee the consequences of his behavior and does not recognize authorities, which can lead to antisocial acts in adolescence, when impulsiveness, sometimes combined with aggressiveness, comes first.

Parents who suspect such disorders in their children, no matter what age this occurs, should consult a neurologist or psychiatrist and have the child examined, since sometimes other, more serious diseases are hidden under the guise of ADHD.

Diagnosis of ADHD

There are three variants of the course depending on the prevailing signs:

  1. Hyperactivity without attention deficit;
  2. Attention deficit without hyperactivity (more often observed in girls: they are quite calm, quiet, “having their head in the clouds”);
  3. Attention deficit with hyperactivity.

In addition, simple and complicated forms are distinguished. If the first is characterized only by inattention and hyperactivity, then with the second these symptoms are accompanied by headaches, tics, stuttering, and sleep disturbances.

Attention deficit can be either primary or secondary, that is, it can arise as a result of other diseases, such as the consequences of birth trauma and infectious lesions of the central nervous system,

Features of behavior

The child is alive, mobile, active - what's wrong with that? Moreover, he is smart beyond his years, at least he mastered the computer much faster and better than his grandmother, and knows how to set a complex toy in motion. Doctors do not indicate developmental delay. And yet, you are constantly infuriated by his restlessness, running around, fidgeting, impatience, unintelligible answers.

Do not rush to classify any active child as hyperactive. If your child is full of energy, overflowing, and sometimes becomes stubborn and disobedient, this does not mean that he is hyperactive. If you are chatting with your friend, and the child begins to get angry and cannot stand still or sit at the table - this is normal. Long journeys, holidays, guests and other “events” also tire children.

Manifestation of ADHD

  1. Inattention:

  • the child is not able to maintain attention to details, which is why he makes mistakes when performing any tasks (at school, kindergarten);
  • unable to listen attentively to speech addressed to him, one gets the impression that he generally ignores the words and comments of others;
  • does not complete the work he is doing, it seems that he is expressing his protest in this way because he does not like this work. But the child is simply not able to learn the rules of work and adhere to them;
  • experiences enormous difficulties in organizing his own activities;
  • avoids tasks that require prolonged mental stress;
  • often loses his belongings, items needed at school and at home: in kindergarten he can never find his hat, in class - a pen or diary, although his mother first collected and put everything in one place;
  • easily distracted by extraneous stimuli;
  • constantly forgets everything.
  1. Hyperactivity:

  • the child is fussy, restless, moves his hands and feet for no reason, crawls in the chair, constantly turns around;
  • unable to sit still for a long time, jumps up without permission, walks around the classroom, etc.;
  • The child’s motor activity, as a rule, does not have a specific goal. He just runs around, spins, climbs, tries to climb somewhere, although sometimes this is far from safe;
  • cannot play quiet games, rest, sit quietly and calmly, or do certain things;
  • often talkative.
  1. Impulsiveness:

  • the child often answers questions without thinking, without listening to them to the end, sometimes he simply shouts out the answers;
  • has difficulty waiting his turn, regardless of the situation and environment;
  • usually interferes with others, interferes in conversations, games, pesters others;
  • shows impatience and demands immediate satisfaction of his desires.
  • Sometimes there are other additional signs:
  • violation of fine movements (tying shoelaces, using scissors, coloring, writing, drawing);
  • imbalance (children have difficulty learning to ride a bicycle or skate);
  • impaired visual-spatial coordination (inability to play sports, especially with a ball);
  • difficulty in relationships with peers and adults - hyperactive behavior can irritate both parents and teachers, provoke rejection from others, which embitters the child and he becomes uncontrollable.

Causes of ADHD

Genetic mechanisms play an important role in the origin of ADHD. If families have close relatives who had similar problems in childhood, the risk of developing hyperactivity is approximately 30%.

In approximately half of the cases, the leading role in the occurrence of ADHD is played by unfavorable factors during pregnancy and childbirth:

  • intrauterine hypoxia (lack of oxygen) of the fetus; threat of miscarriage; smoking and poor nutrition of the mother during pregnancy;
  • stress during pregnancy;
  • prematurity (birth of a baby weighing less than 2500 g);
  • premature, transient or prolonged labor, stimulation of labor.

Tension and frequent conflicts in the family, intolerance and excessive severity towards children also contribute to the development of this syndrome.

Mistakes in education:

  • Differences in approaches to education (grandparents, fathers and mothers, educators and teachers).
  • Inconsistency of requirements placed on the child (the rules are constantly changing, the child does not have time to get used to them).
  • Lack of knowledge and skills to manage aggression, and inability to instill them in children.
  • Lack of emotional warmth: hyperactive children often tire and irritate even their closest relatives.

Principles of treatment and correction

Treatment of ADHD should be comprehensive, that is, include both drug therapy and psychological correction. Ideally, the child should be observed by a doctor and psychologist, and should also feel the support of the parents and their faith in the positive outcome of the treatment. This support reinforces the skills that the child develops during treatment.

It must be remembered that medications must be taken strictly as prescribed by the doctor.

  1. The psychological characteristics of hyperactive children are such that they are immune to reprimands and punishments, but quickly react to the slightest praise. It is recommended to formulate instructions clearly, clearly, concisely and visually. In order for such a child to comply with any instructions or requests, they must be laconic (contain no more than ten words), otherwise the child will not hear you. Parents should not give them several tasks at the same time; it is better to give them the same instructions, but separately.
  2. Parents should monitor compliance with the daily routine: clearly regulate the time of meals, walks, games, homework, sleep.
  3. It is necessary to provide the baby with the opportunity to expend excess energy in physical exercises, long walks, and running.
  4. To correct behavior, you can use, after discussing this with your child, a system of rewards and punishments for good and bad behavior; and also place a set of rules of behavior in a kindergarten group and at home in a place convenient for the child, and then ask the child to recite these rules out loud. When prohibiting something, we must remember: there should not be many prohibitions. Prohibitions must be discussed in advance with the child and formulated in a clear form; the child must know the consequences of violating these prohibitions. Punishment should follow the offense immediately, immediately, i.e. be as close in time to the incorrect behavior as possible, otherwise it will not be correctly understood by the child.
  5. You should not overtire your baby when performing tasks, as this may increase hyperactivity. It is necessary to exclude or limit the participation of easily excitable children in activities involving large crowds of people.
  6. If a child is sick, then scolding him for disobedience is not only useless, but also harmful. In such cases, you can only evaluate the baby, that is, give a positive assessment of the child’s personality and a negative assessment of his actions. (For example, say: “You are a good boy, but now you are doing the wrong thing, you need to behave like this...”). Under no circumstances should you make a negative comparison of your child with other children (“Lesha is good, but you are bad!”).
  7. It is recommended to reduce the time spent watching TV shows and computer games. For a hyperactive child, there are restrictions when watching television and spending long periods on the computer (the more time he spends at the computer, the higher his emotional arousal will be, the more difficult it will be to calm him down).
  8. It must be remembered that excessive demands and excessive educational loads lead to persistent fatigue of the child and the appearance of an aversion to learning, therefore a gentle teaching regimen is recommended - a minimum number of children in a group, class, shorter duration of classes, etc.
  9. After the child comes home, your attention should be given to him, at least for one hour. During this time, the child will be able to speak out and share with you what bothered him during the day. It is necessary to remember that before bedtime (2-3 hours before) it is useful to take a walk, talk calmly with the child, listen to his story. It is necessary to regularly carry out a light soothing massage and perform relaxation exercises in order to relieve excess tension. Such children are prone to fears. They need your support and approval.

Some children “outgrow” their hyperactivity, that is, their symptoms of the disease disappear during adolescence. But in half of children, symptoms of ADHD continue into adolescence and adulthood (especially if they are not treated).

Examples of games for hyperactive children:

Outdoor games to develop attention

"Giant Slalom"

Two parallel slalom “courses” are made from chairs, which competing teams must overcome, moving backwards at both ends. The one who, while maneuvering between the chairs, touches one of them, returns to the start for a second attempt. The first team to complete the course without errors wins.

"Race for the leader."

Two competitors stand behind a circle of arranged chairs. They are located at both ends of the diameter of the circle. Having taken the start at the same time, the players run like a snake, with their backs forward, trying to catch up with the opponent. The winner is revealed after five laps. If someone previously touched the chair three times, then they are considered defeated.

"Remember the rhythm."

The presenter invites the participants to repeat after him the rhythmic pattern that he reproduced with the help of claps. For those who do not remember the sample they heard, a reference is given in the form of a digital recording of it, where the number represents the number of continuously following claps, and the dash between them represents pauses (for example, 1-1-3-4-2). To make the task easier, it is suggested to count the number of claps out loud in accordance with their visual image. After everyone has mastered the rhythmic melody, it is played in a circle at a slow tempo, and then increasing. The one who gets lost is eliminated.


According to the same scheme as in the previous game, a pantomimic model is mastered, consisting of successive groups of movements, each of which is given symbols (two “squares”, two “accordions”, one “square”).

"Invisible hat".

Within 3 seconds, you need to remember all the items collected under the hat and then list them.

"Ball in a circle."

Standing in a circle, participants throw 1, 2, 3 or more balls to each other, signaling their intentions without using words. The one whose thrown ball was not caught is eliminated.

"Brownian motion".

The leader rolls several dozen tennis balls into the circle, one after another, which should neither stop nor roll out of the circle.

"Volleyball without a ball."

Two teams of 6 people simulate a game of volleyball according to the rules (three passes), but without a ball, but by exchanging glances and corresponding movements.

Perseverance training


Anyone who is eliminated from any game must sit in a chair until it ends. If he gets up from his chair or spins around, the entire team will be penalized or forfeited.

"Wax figure".

Until the end of the game, each participant must remain in the position in which the “sculptor” left him.

"Living Picture".

Having created a plot scene, its participants freeze until the driver guesses the name of the picture.


Children act as car parts (“wheels”, “doors”, “trunk”, “hood”, etc.), from which the driver assembles the car.

“The sea is agitated” “freeze - die” games

"The Power of Honesty."

Each team member must take turns doing push-ups as many times as they can, but “fairly”, i.e. without bending, completely touching the floor with your chest and rising to outstretched arms. As soon as a “fair” push-up fails, the player is replaced by a teammate, and he himself becomes at the end of the line. The first team to score 100 “fair push-ups” wins. The same can be suggested with abdominal pumping.

“Edible-inedible”, “Don’t wear black and white”, “Don’t say Yes and No” and similar games that require self-control to avoid impulsive reactions.

“Prompt silently.”

Where, according to the terms of the game, children prompt each other, this is allowed, but only silently. The one who shouted out the hint is fined or the whole team is punished.

“Keep the rhythm going.”

Everyone participates in the continuous reproduction of the mastered rhythm, having the right to only one clap after a neighbor in the circle. Those who are late with their clap, cannot bear the pause, or make an extra clap are eliminated.


Participants must walk along a free wall, leaning against it over and over again with at least three limbs. Anyone who tears off or moves two limbs at the same time is considered “lost” and returns to the start. The first team to reach the opposite corner wins.

*This material was prepared based on the manual “Learning to be good parents for children aged 0 to 3 years”

Types of ADHD in children

There are 3 types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder depending on the symptoms:

  • Syndrome combining attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity
  • Hyperactivity disorder without attention deficit disorder

The incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to various authors, varies from 2.2 to 18% in school-age children. Almost every school class has at least one child with this disease.

Boys suffer from ADHD 2 times more often than girls, and boys are more likely to have isolated hyperactivity or hyperactivity in combination with attention disorders.

Causes of the disease

Symptoms may be caused by the following factors:

  • disturbance in the development of the frontal lobes and the functional functioning of the cerebral cortex;
  • genetics (children whose parents suffered from similar manifestations are more likely to get sick);
  • prematurity or problematic pregnancy;
  • rapid or prolonged labor;
  • smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs during pregnancy;
  • immunological incompatibility;
  • unfavorable environmental conditions.

Symptoms and diagnosis

A diagnosis of attention deficit disorder can be made if at least 6 of the symptoms described below are present.

A child has attention deficit if he:

  • Does not pay attention to details and makes mistakes in work
  • Difficulty maintaining attention at work and play
  • Doesn't listen to what he is told
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • Cannot organize play or structured non-play activities (such as doing homework)
  • Has difficulty completing tasks that require long-term concentration
  • Often loses things
  • Often and easily distracted
  • Sometimes forgetful

To be diagnosed with hyperactivity, at least 5 of the following symptoms must be present.

A child is hyperactive if he:

  • Makes fussy movements with arms and legs
  • Often jumps out of his seat
  • Hypermobility in situations where hypermobility is unacceptable
  • Can't play quiet games
  • Always on the move
  • talks a lot
  • A child is impulsive if he:
  • Answers a question without listening to it
  • Can't wait his turn
  • Interferes with others' conversations and games
  • Mandatory characteristics of ADHD also include:
  • Duration:
  • symptoms have been present for at least 6 months
  • Consistency, spread to all areas of life: adaptation disorders are observed in two or more types of environment (for example, at school and at home)
  • Severity of impairments: significant impairments in learning, social contacts, professional activities
  • Other mental disorders are excluded: symptoms cannot be associated solely with the course of another disease

What causes ADHD?

The formation of ADHD is based on neurobiological factors: genetic mechanisms and perinatal damage to the central nervous system (damage to the brain and spinal cord that occurs during pregnancy, childbirth and the early postpartum period), which can be combined with each other. It is they who determine changes in the functioning of the nervous system and disorders of higher mental functions and behavior that correspond to the picture of the syndrome.

In many cases, additional influence on children with ADHD is exerted by negative socio-psychological factors (primarily intra-family), which in themselves do not cause the development of ADHD, but always contribute to an increase in the child’s symptoms and adaptation difficulties.

Disorders associated with ADHD (so-called comorbid disorders).

Additional difficulties in family, school and social adaptation in children with ADHD may be associated with the formation of concomitant disorders that develop against the background of ADHD as the underlying disease in at least 70% of patients. Comorbid disorders in ADHD are represented by the following groups: oppositional defiant behavior, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, speech development disorders, learning difficulties, lack of coordination, awkwardness, tics). Other related ADHD disorders may include sleep disturbances and involuntary urination during sleep.

How is ADHD treated?

The best results in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are achieved by combining various methods, but a neurologist must decide on the complex of necessary treatment measures.

When treating ADHD, our doctors use a unique method of Biophysical neuromodulation, which triggers the internal mechanisms of self-regulation of the central nervous system structures and is able to restore the normal development of the child, positively affecting cognitive functions (attention, memory, speech). In addition, our method has a positive effect on metabolic processes in the nervous system and promotes the maturation of new brain cells. In cases where ADHD is combined with destructive behavior, anxiety disorders, and neuroses, treatment is combined with micropolarization and interactive adaptive neuro-biofeedback training, which enhances synaptic transmission in different brain structures. Often, sleep and behavior disorders accompanying ADHD require additional sessions with a neuropsychologist. Another direction of ADHD therapy is to control negative nutritional and environmental factors that lead to the entry of toxic substances into the child’s body (lead, pesticides, food coloring, preservatives). Among the micronutrients with a proven clinical effect in ADHD, magnesium preparations should be noted. Thus, treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder should begin early (immediately after diagnosis), be comprehensive, continuous and long-term.

Disorder or personality trait?

The concept of neurodiversity, an approach that views different neurological features as a result of normal variations in the human genome, is now gaining popularity. Adherents of neurodiversity are interested in both sexual orientation and gender self-identification, as well as some genetically determined mental illnesses, including autism, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder. Some scientists believe that many of the behaviors that lead to a diagnosis of ADHD are natural personality traits and do not indicate unhealthy abnormalities. But because such traits make it difficult for a person to function in modern society, they are labeled as “disorders.”

Psychotherapist Tom Hartman developed the spectacular “hunter and farmer” theory, which posits that people with ADHD retain the genes of primitive people responsible for behavior optimal for hunters. Over time, humanity switched to agriculture, which required more patience, and “hunting” qualities - quick reactions, impulsiveness, receptivity - began to be considered undesirable. According to this hypothesis, the problem lies only in setting tasks, and the ability of people with the syndrome to “hyperfocus” - strong concentration on a task that is subjectively interesting to them to the detriment of all others - can also be considered as an evolutionary advantage. True, Hartman is difficult to consider as an objective researcher - his son was diagnosed with ADHD.

But in any case, there is a sound grain in this theory: since one of the most important criteria of mental health is the ability to successfully cope with everyday tasks, many problems can be mitigated by choosing a suitable field of activity. That is, one where routine processes and patience play a lesser role and a “sprinting” temperament, the ability to improvise, curiosity and the ability to easily switch between various activities are valued. For example, it is believed that with ADHD you can make a good career in sales or entertainment, in the arts, and in “adrenaline” professions (say, a firefighter, a doctor, or the military). You can also become an entrepreneur.

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