Hyperactivity in times of Covid-19

A mother, crying over the phone to the Clinic expresses how her son is struggling to adapt to changing world.

“Timmy is getting bad marks on the virtual school classes. And the worst part is that his online private tutor tells me that Timmy moves around all the time. He’s fidgeting, he doesn’t pay attentions, he’s nibbling on biscuits and fiddling with his games and colouring pencils. He’s just all over the place.”

A calm place to study

A lack of concentration and a short attention span is not a new occurrence amongst children. On many occasions I’ve seen children do their homework in the kitchen, alongside busy parents. Parents who are making dinner, washing up, sorting through the laundry. All whilst managing their own social lives and catching up with friends and family.

For parents, multi-tasking is a need. Many parents are busy working all day and then come home to continue working within the domestic realm. They’re catching up with chores, whilst keeping an eye on the needs of their children; ensuring they’re doing their homework. Parents do many tasks as quickly as they can, so they can then meet their child’s educational and emotional needs.

I always explore avenues and places in the house where the child can sit and be without any distractions; no other children, no loud sounds, nothing going on in the background, or toys or games within reach. Once a calm space it’s created, it’s then possible to see how children face their tasks; including online classes. You can then see whether the hyperactivity is due to the environment or to the child’s temperament.

Helping with chores

It’s easy for a child to feel bored or neglected when a parent is too busy or is focused on other things. This can lead to hyperactivity, since the child doesn’t know how to entertain him or herself constructively. One answer is to encourage the child to help around the house.

To expect a child to obey them, parents need to be confident in their requests and should pay attention to their children. Asking them to help with chores and turning these into a game, helps to maintain interest and co-operation with activities. This keeps children entertained, without the expectation that they should entertain themselves, act like adults or be entirely independent.

Doing laundry as a game can be a fun activity if you incorporate laughter, naming the owner of the clothes and folding them together. Fun and jokes can be included into all household activities and can provide a source of entertainment and develop imagination.


Providing a calm environment

If a child is hyperactive it is a sign that they need more holding and regular structure. Without parental holding, they feel insecure. The holding can be verbal, entertaining, structuring their activities and asking them about how it is going. By being in touch with what their child is thinking and feeling, a parent provides a calm and secure environment. By being aware of their child’s insecurites, a parent provides a structure for them to lean on when they are anxious.

Make your child your helper, rather than your neglect.