Baby Extra – Page 1
Mental Health Issues in children is becoming easier to spot with lots of research to back this up.
Young children are often restless and excitable. Their noisy liveliness is usually just a part of being young. Although it may be tiring, it is usually nothing to worry about.
Sometimes youngsters may be so active and noisy that it makes life difficult for their parents and other children. A child like this may be demanding and excitable and chatter away nineteen to the dozen. They may be noisy, may not do as they are told, and will probably find it difficult to sit still. Adults may say that he’s ‘hyperactive’, but the trouble with this word is that professionals use it to describe extreme, and sometimes dangerous behaviour, such as running out into a busy road.
Try to make sure you spend time with your child on their own, so that they know you are interested in them.
This will give you the chance to plan and praise.
Spend time with your children doing something they enjoy. Get into a routine and plan what they are going to be doing for the day or the weekend. It is helpful to arrange to have friends to come and play, (encouraging their social development) and gives you a break when they are invited back! It is also helpful to engage them in regular activities such as football or trampoline sessions, cubs, brownies etc. because this gives you a chance to meet other parents who can provide an informal support network. You can also make clear times when you expect them to play quietly on their own.
Take every opportunity to praise your child. Be as clear as possible. It is vital that they understand exactly what they have done to please you. For example, “you’ve been playing so quietly on your own … what a good boy you are” or “what a good footballer you are”.
Lively, excitable behaviour is a common problem for parents. Your health visitor will be used to giving advice about this. If there seems to be a problem with your child’s hearing, or if there seems to be a reaction to foods, your general practitioner should be able to help and refer to a specialist if required.
If they think that there might be a learning difficulty or a hyperactivity disorder, they will refer you to a clinical psychologist, paediatrician or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) (see our factsheet on CAMHS).
Ron was my first son. He was always a lively energetic one, even as a toddler – early to walk and run. I could not keep up the pace and would feel exhausted running after him. It drove me nuts.
When he was 6 I met Linda, his classmate’s mum. She told she had the same difficulties with her son, but then she attended a parenting group and it was really helpful. She said it took some time, but it was really basic and it made all the difference. I agreed to give it a try.
At first I didn’t think the group was for me as I found it difficult to talk to strangers about my difficulties controlling my child…but I soon it was OK. All the parents had had similar experiences. Just talking to others made it feel much easier. I was not shouting at Ron “stop it” all the time. I was more tolerant, I praised him when he ate his breakfast and gave him a hug. It seemed all calmer, even Ron seemed to notice the difference. He seemed a happier child, listening to me. When I wanted him to really do something, I would just look at him, speak to him calmly and tell him what to do, in simple words. No long explanations. Just a few words and it worked. So simple.
Ron loves his evening time before tea on his bike while I walk the dog. I feel it has worked out well … just in time.
About this information.
This is one in a series of factsheets for parents, teachers and young people entitled Mental Health and Growing Up.
This factsheet looks at the reasons behind why some children are more restless and excitable than others and suggest where to go to get extra help.