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Hyperactivity and children

Alternative Names

Children and hyperactivity


Toddlers and young children often are very active. They also have a short attention span. This type of behavior is normal for their age. Providing lots of healthy active play for your child can sometimes help.

Parents may question whether the child is just more active than most children. They may also wonder if their child has hyperactivity that is part of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or another mental health condition.

It is always important to make sure that your child can see and hear well. Also, make sure there are no stressful events at home or school that may explain the behavior.

If your child has had troubling behaviors for a while, or the behaviors are getting worse, the first step is to see your child's health care provider. These behaviors include:

  • Constant motion, which often seems to have no purpose
  • Disruptive behavior at home or in school
  • Moving around at an increased speed
  • Problems sitting through class or finishing tasks that are typical for your child's age
  • Wiggling or squirming all of the time


Cunningham N, Jensen P. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 30.

Review Date: 2/5/2015
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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