My son is hyperactive

My six-year old son is hyperactive. He is restless and constantly gets into trouble at school. His teachers complain that he fiddles with objects and disturbs others. His behaviour is markedly better on days when he has had a lot of play/physical activity. Please advise -- M. P.

Free play and regular participation in sports or martial arts will help to work off his excess energy. These activities also help build concentration and focus, while he is engaged in school work and other work that involves sitting in one place. But this is not enough.

A hyperactive child should also be engaged in mentally challenging activities that will focus his concentration on one activity without boredom and distraction.

Hyperactive children need attention, and neglect can make their behaviour worse. Positive attention and praise can improve their behaviour.

Setting regular routines and being consistent in discipline will also help your child understand what’s required.

Another factor to consider is whether your child is really ‘hyperactive’. Being well-fed and well-cared for, she might just be an active child, getting into trouble when bored. The challenge is to think creatively and help ward off boredom.

Tips to deal with hyperactive children

Regular sports/exercise go a long way, but you could also fit in impromptu bouts of physical activity like a quick run around the garden to gather flowers, or a bicycle ride.

Dietetically avoid extra carbohydrates, especially products made of white flour. A high-protein diet is preferable.

A predictable daily routine is also useful to avoid battles, especially at bedtime.

Hands-on activities of all types keep hyperactive children engaged, including craft, cooking, helping with chores, running errands, free play, and trying out science kits will help to keep hyperactive children constructively engaged.