If your child is having trouble sitting still, then this can be alarming as a parent and might leave you wondering whether they perhaps have a condition such as ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) or another more serious issue. If they are of school age, this could even lead to difficulty in the classroom and you might find them getting into trouble more often than their classmates.
In which case, what can you do to try and help your child? And why might they have the problem in the first place? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the causes of fidgeting in young children and what you can do to help them.
Causes of Fidgeting in Young Children
One of the primary causes of fidgeting in young children is low dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical that is very often described as being the ‘reward’ hormone. It was once thought that dopamine was released as a reward to encourage us to carry out certain actions, but we now know that it is actually produced while we are working toward a goal. Dopamine tells the brain that something important is happening and it tells us that we need to concentrate.
When we have too much dopamine, it can make us wired and overly alert. When we don’t have enough though, it might mean that things seem less important or less interesting and as a result, we might struggle to concentrate for extended periods of time.
In other words then, low dopamine can cause us to struggle to pay attention and for that reason, it is one of the most common explanations for ADHD.
Low dopamine can also show itself in other ways however. For instance, low dopamine is also thought to cause RLS – or Restless Leg Syndrome.
Is Fidgeting a Problem?
So is fidgeting a problem?
Not necessarily. In some cases, it might be a sign of ADHD, but only where it occurs alongside other symptoms (constant talking, moving and inability to focus). In some cases, fidgeting can simply be a sign that a child has too much energy – or even that they are overly tired! In other cases, it can be the result of other issues such as OCD and PTSD.
If you suspect that your child might be suffering from a serious mental health issue, then you should seek medical intervention and them to see a doctor. They may be prescribed medication or lifestyle changes.
However, there may also be several less extreme solutions if your child simply has a lot of pent up energy. One answer, for instance, is to channel that energy into something positive, such as after school activities. Another option is to get a ‘fidget toy’. These are toys that children can play with absent-mindedly while learning and they have been shown in several studies to be very effective in helping children concentrate and avoid disruptive behaviour.
These solutions can help your child to avoid fidgeting and with any luck, it will be a phase they grow out of in time!
Dr.Vidhi Jain has over 7 years of experience as a Physiotherapist. She has a Masters in Physiotherapy in Orthopedics and is currently practicing at Vinayak Physiotherapy in Noida as HOD of the Physiotherapy Department. She has been nominated as ‘Best Physiotherapy Consultant’ in Noida & firmly believes in health care that is based on a personal commitment to meet patient needs with compassion and care.