22 answers

Hyper 4 Year-old

Our daughter is four. She has had crazy energy from birth. She has just resently gotten put out of the daycare program here because she literally cant sit still for more than 3 or 4 minutes. I of course dont agree with them doing that, she isnt combative or cause any harm to herself or others....she is just busy, busy, busy. Her father was ADHD growing up and was on al kinda of traditional meds, which he hated. Of course as he got older he stopped taking the meds and just learned to control it hisself. Our daughter of course is too young to understand how to do this. Her hyperness and lack of attention has made it hard on potty training (which we are still working on) and many other issues. I have tried a natural med called Attend, which she wont take because of the taste. I have tried to mix it with everything possible.....it tastes horrible. Is there any other recomendations anyone might have as far as other natural meds I would greatly appreciate it. We dont want to have her on those prescription meds because of side effets, but we are running out of time, she will be starting kindergarten soon and we dont want to play the meds game with Dr.s.

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So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone for all the responses. I never knew that certain foods could cause alot of this. I knew the obvious, sugar, but wow the red dye I would have never thought about. Im definately going thru my cabinets and frig and checking to see just how much stuff I buy has these things. I wll keep ya'll updated and thanks again for your info. Oh and any ideas on substitutes would be cool....like different cereals, milk etc. Thanks.

Featured Answers

I've heard that food allergies can also play appart in mood and behavior. Try limiting or eliminating certain foods and see how it affects her.

Have you looked into changes you can make to her diet? THere is a ton of new research out there about no-gluten diets or adding fish oil suppliments (you can find kid ones that taste good...my daughter loves them!

I ahve a lot of experience with ADHA because I taught special needs kids for 10 years and I could always see a HUGE difference when kids whent on a modified diet. Lots of whole grains and proteins and cutting out food additives and colorings is really a big help!

More Answers

I know it's been awile since you posted this, but I just wanted to add something. Our technoligy and way of life have changed drastically in the last 100 years and our bodies haven't had the time to evolve. Basically our bodies are stuck in 1900! We NEED to be very active every day. That's why hyperactivity is such an issue now, as well as other disease/sickness. We have such a sedentary lifestyle that our bodies are reacting in this "ADHD" way to get us up and moving. I was hyperactive, which is what they called it when I was a kid. I never took any meds. We did the diet control, the T Factor diet was one, and lots of exersize. As a kid I was ALWAYS outside. I literally ran everywhere I went till I was 15 or 16! It gets easier as you get older. But please for your child's sake remember that this can be frustrating for her too. I know it was for me. As much as she may want to please you by sitting still when you ask her to, she may not be able to. I would cry sometimes because I just couldn't sit still when I wanted to. My case was a bit extreme, but once my diet was under control life got much better. I was about 7 before my mom figured out what to do for me. But now I'm a functionally successfull photographer! Something else that may work well is the Glycemic Index, it focuses on complex carbs that don't turn straight into sugar. Lastly, tread red dye as if it were the plague! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is that way too, but there is a difference between having lots of energy and having ADD or ADHD. Has your DD been formally diagnosed or are you guessing? Can she sit and focus intently for 30 mins or more on something she is interested in? Or does she start things, lose interest, move on to something else, never coming back, and never able to focus? That is the main difference.

Some kids can't handle a lot of noise or sensory input and have trouble figuring out which voice (like a teacher or parent) is the one to listen to in a loud classroom. A non-ADD kid (with energy) may start an assignment, look across the room, talk to his friend, work a little more, draw a picture, poke a girl next to him, work, laugh at a joke, fall out of his chair, but at some point he finishes the assignment. I know at 4 the classroom is not like this, but think about what you know of her at home. Can she sit and focus on something when she wants to?

If she cannot, she could have ADD, but she also might not. I would not medicate without a diagnosis. I do think the natural ideas given were awesome and would definitely give those a try. I will be looking at packges for HFCS more myself as well as the color dyes in foods. My son is allergic to dairy and possibly wheat so we are already careful, but I have heard about these things affecting moods before so I appreciate the tips from others on this!

Oh and to the mom who calls her DD Spazzy, just remember that kids will live up to your expectations of them (like all people). She will think it's expected of her to BE spazzy and that it's who she is! Be careful of the pet names you choose!

Best of luck,

1 mom found this helpful

My name is S. and my 6 y/o daughter was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. I recomend reading the book The Out of Sync Child authors last name is Kranowitz (phonicaly). This is disorder is commonly MISDIGANOSED as ADD/HD, AUTISM, AND LEARNING DIABILITIES. Any way after many a teacher wanted to drug my child I turned to natural methods. I went to my local health food store and told them what was up. They suggested that it could just be a simple imbalance. They told me to try Magnesium. I purchased the brand called NOW and it is called Kids Cal. It has Vit-D, Calcium, and Magnesium as main ingrediants. I give my daught 2 in morning, 2 after school, and 2 at bed. I find it kicks in after about 5-10 minutes after ingestion. It is in the form of a chewable tablet in cute animal shapes. I would recomend this. It has saved my sanity. At my local health food store here in oregon it cost me about $12 a bottle and each bottle contains 100 chewable tablets. I have gotten other parents to try this and they all have the same result. Now instead of focusing on hyperactivity we all can now focus on behavior and loving our children. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, R. again,

Your 4 year old daughter shows the symptoms of mercury poisoning (from baby serum/baby shots). MANY children are being helped by removing this with the liquid zeolite mineral drops. Liquid zeolite is a mineral found in the ground that has a negative charge. It looks like dirty crystal (mineral). It was used to help the radioactive spill in Russia a few years ago (spread over the area to draw to it the particles). It's natural negative charge acts like a magnet drawing all kinds of heavy metal toxins to it (including mercury, lead, benzine, aluminum, etc.) that is in our environment (water, air, and food). Purified and put into a liquid form, it has a honey comb shape (empty cages) and when it is put in water (does not taste), it draws from the body all the heavy metal toxins it can within 4 to 6 hours and removes itself directly to the urinary track. Over time, a person (or child) begins to feel better. Look up www.askdrlyn.com for more information on this (I know her personally and she is from Federal Way, WA). Children with ADHD (any age) have hugely benefited because what the mercury derivative "Thimerisol" does in the body is latches onto our molecules crowding out the vital nutrients and vitamins we need to be healthy. The NCD (liqid zeolite) REMOVES these over time and within 3 to 4 weeks you will begin to see a huge difference in your 4 year old daughter. They have done studies with autistic children, for example, and have profound results where within a month they have improved dramatically even to begin speaking (when they were not able to prior to the liquid zeolite). Please look up my website and see what this Natural Cellular Defense does (retail prices). Don't let the price scare you, as it is easy to become a member to get it wholesale (or I could send you a bottle to try for retail). Your daughter would only need about 4 drops 3 times a day (400 drops per bottle). My website is: www.mywaiora.com/699135 and Dr. Lyn's again is www.askdrlyn.com --H. P. Howell (Federal Way, WA) You can google my name and Washington and can find out information about me.

Have you looked into changes you can make to her diet? THere is a ton of new research out there about no-gluten diets or adding fish oil suppliments (you can find kid ones that taste good...my daughter loves them!

I ahve a lot of experience with ADHA because I taught special needs kids for 10 years and I could always see a HUGE difference when kids whent on a modified diet. Lots of whole grains and proteins and cutting out food additives and colorings is really a big help!

Have you tried to control it with diet?

2 examples:
Our 5 yo daughter is of the more hyper makeup... one of her nicknames is "spazzo"- and we have done a fairly good job of removing all high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from her diet, and many products that have excessive sugar and she has REALLY calmed down. Her preschool teacher even commented that she could tell when Ari had something with HFCS in is - she was suddenly wired.

A friend of ours gave us this idea - her son is 7, and one of those kids you didn't want to watch. They began with HFCS, and went on to cutting sugar from his diet. He is a different child. They also found that chocolate really alters his mood - it's like Jekle & Hyde... the chocolate makes him angry.

Does this make life a little more difficult? Yes - you have to read labels because HFCS is in EVERYTHING - bread, crackers, frozen fruit, ketchup, you get the idea. Once you find the products that don't have it, you learn to buy them, but remember to check anything new. With her in school, it gets a bit harder. I pack their lunch every day so I know what they are eating, and the kids know what it does, so they try to avoid it too.

What can it hurt to try it?

I also had a friend growing up who was hyper. It turned out that he was BORED at school, and that's why he acted up so much. He tested to get into the marines and got the highest score in the state of Colorado (all 5 times they made him take it). He was brilliant, but the teachers wrote him off as "ADD" and ignored him. Your daughter may just need more stimulation. She is at the age where she is learning more than she ever will again in life - give her more to learn!


Hi R.,

I realize you may not agree with my viewpoint, since you seem to be against traditional meds, but I thought it couldn't hurt to relate a success story to you. My son uses a patch called Daytrana. It is a trans-dermal form of Ritalin, so it distributes an even amount of the med throughout the day, so there are no sharp ups and downs. My 9 year-old son has had incredible success with this drug. He has high functioning autism and ADHD, and he used to uncontrollably talk and make noises all day long at school, and then come home and throw himself on the ground and cry when faced with homework. He is now able to concentrate both at home and at school. It is so wonderful to see my boy shine and be able to be himself, because his energy and focus are in check. I was wary of using meds, too. Even naturopathic meds are just naturally-derived chemicals which can have side affects just the same as synthetically-derived meds. But traditional medicines have more empirical data and are federally regulated, so the side affects, if there are any, can be anticipated and dealt with. When we decided to try meds, my son first tried Strattera, which gave him horrible bouts of anxiety, so we stopped the drug after less than a month, and tried the Daytrana, which was incredibly successful.

Even though I understand your wariness of traditional meds, I still want to suggest that you try it. Go to a child psychiatrist, rather than a pediatrician or G.P. You may have to try several different things, but the roller coaster is well worth it when you find something that allows your child to gain control and focus and to shine!

My prayers are with you,

S. H.

I don't know much about ADD or ADHD, but my 5 year old son has had some problems with rage so I have been doing research on how to control this. My dad talked to his naturopathic doctor and he recommended eliminating red dye 40 from his diet. So I googled 'red dye 40 kids' and in some of those articles they did talk about ADD and ADHD and the effect that red dye 40 can have on that. We read the ingredients on everything we give our son and we don't give him anything with any dyes in it (even toothpaste and shampoo can have it) and our son is a whole different child. Even friends and family and our son himself have seen a huge change in him. This may not be the case for your family, but it is definitely worth researching. My dad suggested this a long time ago and I thought he was crazy and I just brushed it aside, but after doing some research I decided to try it and it has made a huge difference in our lives.

If you have a moment between parenting google a topic called nature deficit disorder. People are buzzing about this subject. One point you should find is how lack of exposure to nature can lead to ADHD. Richard Louv wrote a book called "last child in the woods". A very worth while read for any parent.

Good luck! Mama Waldman

Hi R.,
I'm not sure where you live...but I highly recommend you visit a Naturopathic physician to address your daughter's behavior. I am a Naturopathc physician in the Bellingham, WA area. I specialize in women and children's health. I currently see 'little' patients with ADHD and other issues. A lot can be done with changing the diet and introducing clinical nutrition. If you want to find a ND in your area to to www.naturopathic.org or if in WA www.wanp.org.
Dr. M. Putney

Hi R.,

I have been there. My son wasn't removed from preschool but could have been if he didn't have a teacher that understood because of her own children. It was evident at 4 that he had issues.

He was formally diagnosed just after starting kindergarten ADHD (heavy on the "H" his Dr. noted). Before formal diagnosis, I did find caffeine made a huge difference. His teacher said it was night and day which further confirmed to me his diagnosis.

My thoughts....get a formal eval done with her pediatrician or a psychiatrist ASAP to make sure ADHD is her only issue. ADHD is often accompanied by other issues (my son has some minor OCD symptoms too).

I would not suggest caffeine as a long term solution nor any other kind of "self-medicating". Often that can lead to other drug use/experimentation later in life. Talk over options with your Dr. And there is no harm in trying special diets unless they are unbalanced but there isn't much medical evidence supporting these diets. I have read a lot. Be sure to check your sources. I am sure there have been kids that special diets have helped but I would try something proven more effective first.

We have had minimal side effects with the medications my son has been on and it has done wonders for his self-esteem and ability to learn and function at school. (He was getting labeled "the bad boy" the first few weeks in kindergarten due to his inability to control his body and follow directions but it turned around immediately.)I am in the camp that believes medication is not some horrible thing if it is used appropriately and the benefits outweigh the side effects.

So, evaluation, caffination in the meantime, medication and I didn't mention routine. Keep it simple and the same as much as possible. (We have a 4 step morning chart...)

Good luck.

Hi R..

I see you have gotten many responses. But I thought I'd share mine as well.

I was a very high energy child. I am so happy my parents did not medicate me. I think some parents would have. Instead I took many dance lessons: ballet, gymnastics, jazz, figure skating ect,. Also I had a big area in our living room where I could play music and practice my routines. I really wore myself out every day after school. I would dance around for hours. I started the classes when I was 4. At first I didn't remember the routines. But I spent a fair amount of time in the classes.
Anyway it would only work if she gels with the classes and teachers. If dance isn't her thing try sports or any other thing that involves physical activity.

ps.I've read that essential fatty acids (EFA's)can make a difference with adhd.

Good luck!

The only remedy I have found that works is.. Coffee. I only use it during the headaches but it works fast. It is possible that it is an alergic reaction to something like wheat or milk.
Have you considered home schooling? ADHD kids often have to use something to make it in the public school setting. Kindergarden is more about social aspects then education as well. Other than that do lots of research and find something that works for her. I know there is alot out there and not everything will work for her.

Hi, I work with people with AD/HD and am married to a man with it as well. I subscribe to a magazine called ADDitude (www.additutdemag.com)
I know many people,who don't want to use other medication, find some help when they have taken in some caffiene. If it didn't bother you, you might want to see what happens when you give her some hot cocoa (chocolate has caffiene in it) or some iced tea (more caffiene than coffee). It would be an experiment on your part. If you find that she calms a bit after having some caffiene- that is a clue that it might help. I am not AD/HD and caffiene hypes me up but tends to have the opposite affect on people with AD/HD. Also diet pop can be full of caffiene. I don't recommend giving that to a child, but just as a word of warning.. an AD/HD child can become "hooked" on it because of the caffiene affect... so be watchful of that as she gets older and does the "pop" thing as lots of young kids often do.

My little brother is also ADHD. I know this isn't exactly medicine, but you could try cutting out the red dye in her diet. It seemed to help with my brother. It wasn't a cure, but it did curb it a little. You may also try a little caffiene, I know this sounds crazy, but what it does is speeds up the body and naturally your body will release chemicals telling it to SLOW down. I hope these little tid bits help.

I know you've probably already tried this, as you sound very conscientious but have you looked closely at her diet? Some kids just go hyper from some food additives/colorings. You might try a month on 'whole' foods, an not eating out since you never know what you get, and see if that makes a difference. Also, I've found with my daughter that I have to 'run' her every day or it's a disaster. We have running games at all kinds of places during the rainy weather - e.g. the sky bridges at the mall (I'm sure the mall folks don't want to hear that...), the Y, and even big stores where there is room she'll run up an aisle and then back to the cart a zillion times. (Crazy, I know, but she really needs to run....)

Good Luck!

Look for a product called Mindlinx it was developed for children with ADHD and autism. Its a natural product and it works on the digestion system. Many dont know that there is a gut brain connection and a lot of behavior problems have to do with the lack of ability to process foods correctly. There has been a lot of research on this product. Look it up on the internet. The company it is made by is called Pharmax. This company only sells to licenced health care providers so you may have to ask your Dr to order it for you or I have seen places on the internet that sell it as well. My daughter uses this product and it doesnt have a bad taste. Hope this helps

Hi R....I'm J.. I'm loving Mamasource! I really appreciated what you had to say about your 4-year old. I had
the same thing with my son, who is now 20 and I survived! I
brought him home from school and home schooled him. I avoided
ALL red dyes in all foods, and fed him a careful diet of protein
in the morning and kept sugar under check. Then, the first thing I did every morning was take him to the park down the street and run his butt for about two hours. That's right...I ran him and kept him running and playing hard for TWO HOURS.
After about three months, I was in great shape !!! and he
began to settle down. We took walks in the afternoon, and I
almost never let him watch cartoons (have you noticed your
daughter getting hyper after watching them???). I got him
a puppy later on and made sure he walked that dog at least
twice a day after our romp in the park. In the summertime,
I taught him to swim and we put up a pool in our backyard.
He swam sometimes ALL DAY!! The only way I helped this kid
to behave and not get on my nerves was to KEEP HIM GOING!!!
I laugh about it now, but I wasn't laughing then. Just ONE
DAY not exercising with him, and he was miserable, but when
I kept up our park/walk/swim routine, he was perfectly happy.
Well, I hope this helps.
:>) J. (now a Grandma!!!)

I've heard that food allergies can also play appart in mood and behavior. Try limiting or eliminating certain foods and see how it affects her.

My friend has/had a very hyper toddler, into now 7 year old hood and was recommended to medicate beginning at a young age. She decided to strip his diet to strictly fruit and veggies, unprocessed meats and cheeses, and only all natural snack stuff. Nothing processed or with preservatives. It made ALL the difference for their family. It improved everyone's eating habits, although more expensive. Worked for them! Good luck!

I've seen first-hand, and experienced myself, that food is the culprit for lots of hyper kids. Earlier responders have given some great suggestions. And do consider eliminating all foods containing artificial colors for a couple of weeks and see if this makes a difference..

A very well designed British study recently showed "that a variety of common food dyes and the preservative sodium benzoate … causes some children to become more hyperactive and distractible than usual." You can google the whole story. Here's one very well-written summary (of many): http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,###-###-##...

This study doesn't surprise me. I've found that certain food additives make me feel jumpy and speed my heart rate.

My best advice for a hyper child in daycare. Keep them home. A stay at home mom is the best cure. Get a very reliable and strick routine that is well known and stick to it. Make lots of time for her and do activities that will give her a release for her energy. Keep the tv off as much as possible and engage in your child. I believe the benefits will be an amazing reward with you and your childs relationship.
I will be praying for you.

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