24 answers

4 Year Old & ADHD

My son is now 4 1/2 years old and has always been a very well-behaved little boy. On the other hand, he has always been very high strung as well. Always running around and getting very excited about things, but he does listen pretty well (for a 4 year old). I am just worried because the older he gets, the more and more I notice that he is a lot more hyper than other kids his age. He is very nice and friendly to others. He is also extremely smart for his age. He can write his name, spell our names, and can answer just about anything about dinosaurs!! The biggest things that worry me are: jumping alot when he is excited, climbing on EVERYTHING wherever we go, waving his arms a lot just when he is playing around the house. These actions are EXTREMELY noticeable to others, but I notice them more and more. It seems to be getting to me a lot more lately and I am getting very worried. I do not want to ignore the fact that there may be something wrong, and I want to try and help him ASAP. The one thing that would be LAST resort is medication. I do not want him on medication for the rest of his life if he does not ABSOLUTELY have to. I guess my question is if anyone has experienced this, any suggestions on what to do, and anything about helping him "naturally"? Thanks!

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What can I do next?

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Lots of kids are "hyper" or extra active but that doesn't mean they have ADHD. Think of what the letters of ADHD stand for... the D's are deficit and disorder. In order for a child to have that actual chemical deficit, it seems to me that means he is UNABLE to calm himself down. Is he able to focus when you talk to him? Is he able to focus on small, age appropriate tasks? If so, he does not have a chemical problem that needs meds.

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Hi M.,

He's 4 years old. Period. I don't see why society has to try and say just because kids become high strung that there'e something wrong with them. Please just start out by trying to eliminate certain foods, i.e., foods with food coloring (Yellow 5, Blue, Red), artificial sugars, etc. Do it for several weeks and see what happens. I just can't see putting a child on medication just because of how you describe him. In my opinion, he's just a typical 4 year old boy. If he didn't behave that way and didn't get excited about things and didn't respond to people, then people would be saying there was something wrong with him for that. Please try looking into his foods first. Also, simply explaining to him not to get so excited could help. You say yourself that he's very smart, so he should be able to understand that.

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everyone has given some GREAT responses: fish oil (Nordic Naturals is one brand considered 'pure), probiotics, enzymes, feingold diet, GFCF (Gluten Free Casein Free diet)...
I would try all of these things AND at the same time research a DEVELOPMENTAL PEDIATRICIAN- these peds are all about the child's DEVELOPMENT.
I believe in SPECIALISTS.

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First I would say--go with your instints. If you feel something is a bit off, you are probably right. Then call Child Find to have him evaluated. It's free to do, and may give you some insight on what may be going on. Make an appointment with your ped..they may have some insight for you. If your son is in Pre-K, have her write a letter saying how his behavior is at school, and what concerns she may have...bring this with you to the Child Find meeting. PLEASE do not just go with what they have to say. They are human too, and can be wrong--but if what they are suggesting will not harm your child, I say just try it. Any services they recommend, will be free to you. Keep in mind that Child Find works with the public school system...so services would be through the school system in one way, shape or form. Worst case--you have evaluations that may give you a better insight on what difficulties your son may be having right now, and you can walk out of there knowing a little more about the path you are on.

Then I would try to eliminate the foods that could be causing this behavior. Gluten (wheat, barley, rye) and Casein (all milk/dairy type products) are usually the first to try and eliminate....Soy was the biggest problem for us. My son was a biter, and NEVER stopped moving!! We took all soy out, and he was a new kid! It was an amazing change! This is one natural way to try and help him.

There is a product called Gaba Calm that is a natural tiny "pill" that melts in your mouth to help calm you down. There are many herbs that are like this. I would suggest to go to your local Health Food store--like Native Sun, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, or Trader Joes...they can help you choose something that may be along the path you are looking for. Please be sure to educate yourself on the proper use of all herbs...

This is my advice on the steps you could take right now to try and help him...:) If I can help in any other way, please let me know...:) I have walked this path before--and I'm succeeding to help my children!

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I see you've received a lot of advice so I may be repeating but...

-at 4 years old, you may need to wait another year until he's a little older or so and ask for his teacher's input.
-can he concentrate long enough to do multiple step requests? (for example, if you ask him to get his shoes, pick up the game, and turn off the light, does he only remember one thing that you said?)
-if you ask him why he does stuff, can he never remember?
-does he seem like his mind is running on a fast paced motor?

I'm sure a lot of people will tell you how high energy boys are--and they are--they need a lot of activity and exercise--diet has a lot to do with it--limit sugars and fruit drinks--especially the later the day gets. Make sure he gets a lot of sleep! 10-11 hours if possible.

I went through this with my son. It started the summer before Kindergarten and he was diagnosed with ADHD. He has been on medicine but it has changed our lives for the better. He has not been a zombie, he is actually more in tune to things, can remember things, can talk about how he's feeling--good and bad! He has specific attention behaviors and bad behaviors that are very easy to distinguish the difference.
A child psychologist can help if your pediatrician/teacher will not. Feel free to email me.

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I was in the same boat as you. We noticed the problem with my son at age 3. It began as a joke that we needed someone to remove his batteries in order for him to calm down.

We originally had him evaluated by Child Find but found that once he was 3 he would be put into the Place program. This meant he would be put into a school/class with other children who were extremely hyper. As a school teacher, I was and still am against that idea because I wanted to understand why he was so hyper and treatment is not the same in all cases.

We took him to a child psychologist for an evaluation. The psychologist found that he had Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum. We then took him to a pediatric neurologist who confirmed the diagnosis. My son is exceptionally bright so he does not qualify for any services from Child Find/public school.

I was against medication as well but found there is a tremendously positive difference in his hyperactivity when he is on it. He does not walk around like a zombie. He is focused and does listen. He is a typical almost 6 year old when he is on the meds. On the days he can't be on the meds, he is beyond the energizer bunny.

Get a professional opinion, even a second one, then proceed from there. These professionals have a lot more experience than any of us in diagnosing and treating a multitude of problems.

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I do have a lot of experience with this as my oldest daughter Addie was diagnosed with ADHD. It is very noticable with younger children and as they grow and mature they can learn coping skills that help them become more organized, calm, and focused. Read read read. She was a very bright child, and easily bored, she even did a cartwheel in the classroom in first grade. She no longer has those problems, but she has to work extra hard in school, and she is very organized, because if not, she would be a wreck. She has to manage her time carefully and does not like to be late. She has had to work VERY hard to be the way she is now. She was on Adderall, Dexedrine (same stuff) when she was younger and was under weight, she blames her shortness on it and hates that she ever had to take it. I regret my decision to have given her meds, but I was very pressured by the school she was going to in elementary school. The school district we came from in TX was very strict and awful for special needs children or ADD kids!!!

There is a natural solution and it's called Attend by VAXA. You can order it online or go to a healthfood store or naturo path doctor. That and Flax seed or or Omega 3 fatty acids are wonderful for kids with ADHD and may help a lot more than you think. 98 % of Americans are deficient in their Omega 3's which is great for us all....heart, diabetes, the brain development. Kids with ADHD may also have high metal content in their blood due to immunizations or other factors. They usually have allergies to milk, wheat, or other things, so maybe getting your child allergy tested would help. Our pediatrician weaned my daughter off of the medicines in middle school due to chest pain and heart palpitations. This went away when she got off the meds and she finally had a period, which was late for her and she was able to develop like the other girls her age when she got off the meds.

Anyway, if you have any more questions, please let me know, I'm not a naturopath doctor, but my friend is one in TX and I saw her and seek her advise a lot. Essential oils is another thing I use like brain power or clarity by Young Living, not a gimick, just what has worked for us.

My phone number is ###-###-#### call if you want to talk or ask me more questions, Angie

1 mom found this helpful

Lots of kids are "hyper" or extra active but that doesn't mean they have ADHD. Think of what the letters of ADHD stand for... the D's are deficit and disorder. In order for a child to have that actual chemical deficit, it seems to me that means he is UNABLE to calm himself down. Is he able to focus when you talk to him? Is he able to focus on small, age appropriate tasks? If so, he does not have a chemical problem that needs meds.

Try some diet and behavior things first and then you can seek Dr advise if you think you still need it. I have a son on the Autism spectrum with ADHD as well. He is on medication for it, but didn't start until he was 6.5 yr old. I was really reluctant to try meds, but it has been a good thing and we take him off of them when he is not in school over the summer. We also have him on a relatively high dose of Omega-3. That seems a mood mellower. It really does help. Just don't lose that feeling of knowing that something is not right if you feel it. Do your homework!

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