My child is hyperactive, how to help?

My child is hyperactive, how to help?

Always in good shape, the hyperactive child has trouble keeping up and often puts the patience of his parents to the test. How to adapt your daily life? How to facilitate learning? How to react without getting excited about some of his behaviors?


Once the diagnosis of hyperactivity posed often come for the parents the relief, the accompaniment with specialists then the work of adaptation. For the child to be better, an appropriate environment and lifestyle must be created. But at home, what does he need?

Give him a calm living environment

The child is hit hard by all the distractions that come his way. To avoid over-excitement and help focus on everyday tasks, multiple requests are avoided. We store the balloons, the noisy toys, and we turn off the television.

Should video games be deleted? For Dr Nathalie Franc, child psychiatrist and author of The hyperactivity in children, 100 questions / answers (Ellipses ed.), Everything depends on the child and his ability to manage frustration : “These games are part of their universe, and it may be useful to confront them, she says. But if the interruption is too difficult, we delete them. As much as possible, no cries or quarrels between parents or with other children of the siblings. In the room, we regularly tidy up by involving his child.

“The office must have the minimum of distractions, complete the child psychiatrist Stephanie Bioulac. A kit with some pencils is enough, and it is better to avoid any poster or planisphere. ”

This logic also applies to the school, where we ensure that our child is placed away from windows and friends chatting. “It will be better in front of the table,” says Dr. Bioulac, who co-wrote How to help my hyperactive child? (Odile Jacob ed.)

Adapt your schedule to your needs

All that helps the child, provided it takes into account its specificities. There are schedules for getting up, sleeping and eating .

“These children often have a” late night / late riser “profile, says Dr. Bioulac. In this case, do not force them to go to bed too early, otherwise things will get worse. ”

To keep a little time for yourself, the specialist advises to leave the child in his room one hour before his natural sleep , for example at 20:30, with instructions to read or play softly. He is put to bed at 9 pm, and the light is turned off at 9:30 pm This rule can be adapted to adolescence . It’s the same for meals  : we keep fixed hours.

Because of his concentration difficulties , the homework time lasts 1 hour rather than 15 minutes. The solution is to split. Every 10 or 20 minutes, we give a little break. No need to force your child to sit while he learns his lesson: it is too difficult for him and counterproductive. “We must also accept that sometimes he can not finish his homework,” adds Dr. Bioulac. In this case, we warn and organize ourselves by asking the teacher for homework for the week.

Explain clearly the rules

He forgets his notebooks, he runs up and down the stairs, he lets his things drag on … all the behaviors that annoy , but that the child reproduces constantly without doing it on purpose. Even if it does not bear fruit right away, it is necessary to repeat things, with benevolence, in a calm place and putting itself at its height.

We make sure to explain one instruction at a time , preferring positive formulations rather than “Do not do this”. To lecture him is useless! It is better to tell him that one understands his difficulty.

The use of checklists or visual aids for a child under the age of 10 can help him or her to carry out everyday tasks. It’s about sticking pictograms to key places. They draw his attention and remind him of specific behaviors, such as closing the toothpaste with his cap or flushing.

Reward rather than punish

Anger and punishment are ineffective and harmful for the child whose self-esteem is already weakened. “It’s likely to get into a spiral of discouragement,” says Dr. Frank. The best way to help him progress is to focus on the positive and ignore the failures.

“Children with hyperactive children need even more than other children to be congratulated,” says the specialist.

He forgot to write his homework for the next day? No problem, we warn the school and we anticipate for next time. On the other hand, if the homework is noted, we take the time to say congratulations, as in the moments when it is calm. Rewarding good behavior strengthens motivation, values ​​it, and allows it to assimilate tasks.

Two systems are generally recommended: small immediate rewards, such as reading a story or choosing a dessert, and a cumulative points chart. The latter offers the opportunity to gain benefits over a longer time, such as the weekend. It is not enough on its own, because the child has trouble projecting himself, but he is helping him to improve this ability. All the rules of everyday life can give rise to a point gain. But if a deposit does not really pass, then you have to let go.

“It’s difficult for parents, but there are often a lot of rules that must be abandoned to focus on the essentials,  ” says Nathalie Franc. This is the case, for example, the schoolbag that we pick up every night in the hallway. The child can not be subject to the same educational principles as others. The essential points that must be kept are safety and respect.

You will find support, information and contacts on the website of Hypersupers ADHD France . For your child, but also for you and your couple.

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