“He can’t stay put in one place,” sighs Maielle Paterno as she watches her four-year-old Chico run around the house. “He seems to be fueled with boundless energy,” she says. “The only thing that can quiet him down for a while are his Disney CarsTM toys, or when he’s already exhausted!” Otherwise, Chico would jump from one interest to another without really locking on to anything.
Defining hyperactivity Toddlers are endowed with a full bar of energy, while preschoolers are typically active and adventurous, says Francis Dimalanta, M.D., developmental pediatrician at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. And because they have lots of energy to burn, they are always on the go.
Being hyperactive is common among kids between 2 and 6, adds Owen Villar, an occupational therapist who runs Kids Can Do Special Education School in Marikina City. Parents need not worry about hyperactivity disorder at this stage. Children under 5, says Dr. Dimalanta, have rarely been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “A preschooler may be at risk for ADHD if he is exceptionally hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive most of the time, as compared to other kids his age,” adds Dr. Dimalanta.
“Hyperactivity is defined as an inability to sit for long periods of time, especially when the task requires the child to sit down,” says Villar. Roaming the room without purpose, restlessness, fidgeting, climbing or running inappropriately, talking excessively, and shifting his attention from one activity to another within a few minutes are common signs of hyperactivity, Villar says.
“If these actions already interfere with a child’s ability to perform in school, in public places, and at home—whether at work or at play—then this warrants a formal diagnosis by a developmental pediatrician,” says Villar, as this may not simply be a “burst of energy.”
Observe your child and record his daily behavior. If he already goes to school, sit down with his teacher and other people who work and interact with him regularly.