You asked

Could my hyperactive preschooler have ADHD?

A degree of hyperactive behaviour is normal for preschoolers to display. This is why it is very difficult to diagnose true ADHD cases in children that young. Although some preschoolers have been diagnosed with ADHD and given treatment with Ritalin and Prozac, most doctors are reluctant to prescribe behavioural medication to children that young. The full effects of ADHD medication on young children have not been researched and studied – mainly because the cases are so rare.

If you are concerned about your child's apparent hyperactivity, examine your daily routine. If the activities require your child to sit still for too long, this could be part of the problem. Allow time for your child to play outside, or at a park. If this is not possible, try physical activities in your home, such as dancing to music. Young children are more enthusiastic about participating in activities if the parent joins in.

If you are committed to doing a task yourself, such as cooking, give your child something to do nearby. A few empty pots and pans with small toys can keep your child occupied for a while. If you are able to stand the noise, you can give your child empty boxes or simple percussion instruments to play with. Being able to create a rhythm by drumming on boxes, or shaking a tambourine, releases energy, teaches your child coordination and is fun. Again, if you join in on the activity, it will be more successful.

Be aware of how much time per day you expect your child to sit still for. Introduce physical activities before meal times, so that your child is fairly tired before needing to sit still for a few minutes.

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