22 answers

My Son Can't Seem to Stop Moving!

I know this may sound strange, but my 5 3/4 yo son is so non-stop it is driving me mad! We try to talk to him and he can't stand still! If we are trying to talk to him and he's playing with his hands, we'll ask him to stop, and his feet start going, we ask him to stop that, and his knees start bobbing, we'll ask him to stop THAT and his head will start rocking. It's like he HAS to be in motion! I know there are plenty of times when he's working on his drawings and such that he is sitting still, but for the life of me i can't figure out how to GET it to happen. Like at meals - his arms, hands, legs, head - he's ALWAYS moving something! Anyone else out there dealing with this??

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

This is a small response to some of the great advice: He is ok during school, and when he wasn't in school, we could get him to sit and concentrate on some learning activities as well without difficulty. It seems to be extra energy after maybe having to sit for that long..?? But even on weekends he's like that. I would absolutely consider (if I seriously thought for a moment these were ADHD symptoms) ADHD - LATER. I do not believe you can accurately diagnose such a small child with so much energy with a debilitating condition such as this. I will continue to keep my eyes open for any other symptoms of course. I think for the most part I was looking for others out there who seem to have the same situations. Because my 2 other children (girls age 4 and 2) are not that way. I know all children are different, but I have spent SO much time around small kids all my life and NEVER have I seen this! Thank you so much to all who gave advice! It is sure great to hear there are others out there who do know what I'm experiencing and who care! (OH - and I will also be talking to his pediatrician and to his teacher to get their take on things as well!) Thank you!

Featured Answers

I'm glad to hear you know he doesn't have a disorder! If you are enforcing enough discipline to where he is behaving in general, you probably just have to wait out the high energy "constant motion"....or be like Michael Phelps's mom-throw that hyperactive kid in the pool! Or on the soccer field etc. Let him run as much as possible whenever possible! Good luck!

what do they say at school daycare? If same problem there then might just want to talk to the pediatrician first.

ADHD is quite real and there are also many cases that are not diagnosed and wait until adulthood.

More Answers

It sounds to me like you have automatically closed your mind off from ADHD. I, too, believe that this is over diagnosed in children today but I will tell you this...if one of my kids where exhibiting classic symptoms of this disorder I would certainly at least acknowledge it and explore it as a possibility.

1 mom found this helpful

LOL over your post! Sounds like MY 5.5 yo! I think some kids are just high energy...I also agree with your opinion on the ADHD topic. Granted, some instances are very real, but I think my son is just a real corker! Even when he's watching a cartoon or something, he's also racing cars, playing something else.....hmmmm....come to think of it he reminds me of...ME! I have a hard time NOT multi-tasking, too.
Just go in his room and look at him while he's asleep if you want to see him motionless! :) That's what I do!

1 mom found this helpful

i dont want to upset you or suggest that its adhd - but its a really good possibility - i agree that its over diagnosed - but i can speak from experience - i wasnt' diagnosed until age 30 and the struggles i went through my entire life i wouldnt wish on my worst enemy - so to me its a sadder story when a child is NOT diagnosed - there are also non medication ways to help the problem if its adhd - but medication does work too- i am a testiment to that.

is it "normal"? who knows what normal is - there aren't any textbooks on that - is it normal for your son? maybe was it normal for your other kids? maybe not -

another thing to think about is that there may be something else that might be bothering him - similar to a restless leg syndrome or something like that - you never know - i personally would ask the peditrician and try to rule things out before asssuming he's being disrespectful.

S. w

My son sounds the same way. He will be 5 years old in one month. He can NOT sit still at all sometimes.
He was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction when he was almost 2 years old.
It's hard to say if your son has any of the other symptoms or not without knowing more. I would suggest reading up on it a little to see if anything fits. Oh, and just so you know there are a wide range of symptoms and they all won't fit. Every child with this disorder wouldn't be the same.
Maybe this can help. I know that the symptoms for this can be very similar to ADHD.

My son is only 5 mos., but I had to respond! :) I used to work with kids, and some are just WAY more active than others! I believe it's a sign that they will be really good at multi-tasking when they get older! I agree with you about the ADHD, besides he is MUCH too young to even think about it! It sounds like he is just a high energy kid, and while it may be frustrating for you it is just normal for him! :) As long as it does not affect him in school or disrupt sleep or anything, I would not worry about it. If you talk to your doc, depending on what kind
of pedi you have, he or she may mention ADHD but do some reading if they do and make your own decision! My little bro was EXACTLY the same way when he was a baby/little guy, and his teachers in the 2nd grade mentioned that to my mom (she was SUPER pissed!) and now he is 20yrs old and perfectly fine !:) Hopefully you will not have to wait 15yrs. for a child to stop tapping his feet at the dinner table though! :)

To Jaime K- this website is for moms to seek advice from OTHER MOMS have maybe dealt with something similar. How dare you be so ignorant as to suggest K. is doing anything wrong! You have an awful lot of nerve using the words "rude" and "pompous" to describe anyone but yourself. You ought to be ashamed.

It sounds like he may need some physical activity / play time after school and before dinner (or homework time or any other "sit still" time). Some time outside, a sport, or a small trampoline to jump on (they have those ones with the handle for smaller kids) - something to burn off some pent up energy. Also, realize that he's been sitting still & being good all day long - and ignore as much of the excess movement as you can.

If it were AD/HD, the symptoms would typically be seen in more than one setting (not just school and not just home, but both places). It doesn't sound like that is happening.

I have 2 high energy boys who came after a very laid back daughter - it takes much more of my energy to direct the boys in a positive manner - sometimes it is frustrating, but when it comes right down to it - I wouldn't change their personalities for the world!

I'm going to try to be delicate about this..... uh, no its not normal. And it does sound like a hyper active/nervous disorder.

"(And PLEASE don't tell me he may have ADHD or something because I am convinced that there are WAY too many children in the world that are diagnosed or medicated for such things and I think it's ridiculous!)"

I think that if you want help you should't exclude getting a responce that might help you vs. living in possible denial. Why are you asking us instead of going to a doctor ? Is it posssible that you are so afraid that you might be wrong? These things are real, and so are the children these disorders affect. Your post comes across very rude and pompus. But who cares what we think .....go see your ped!!!!

I'm glad to hear you know he doesn't have a disorder! If you are enforcing enough discipline to where he is behaving in general, you probably just have to wait out the high energy "constant motion"....or be like Michael Phelps's mom-throw that hyperactive kid in the pool! Or on the soccer field etc. Let him run as much as possible whenever possible! Good luck!

My son, same age, has a difficult time sitting still and listening, which he does better at school than home.

I would venture to guess his activity level has something to do with his natural brain development and his particular learning style. And your reaction may likely be based in how you learn and your preferred commnunication style.

If he is in school you can ask the teacher/guidance counselor to recomend a learnign style inventory or good books on brian development.

I once read that some boys (girls too btw) often have a hardtime standing still looking at the speaker and listening. It is almost as if they can't do that yet... they need to move so they can comprehend. I would try telling him something and asking for feedback to determine if he's heard. Then, you can decide whether his doing it prevents him from hearing or just distracts you from feeling heard.

There is a book called the Wonder of Boys that speaks to some brain development stuff for boys (I am not sure I buy all of what the author says, but worth considering). I would then look on the web for learnign style inventories that will help you assess your style and his to figure out the best way to communicate and to establish your expecations.
Good luck. Julie

I also enjoyed your post! Made me smile.

My 5 3/4 year old son is exactly the same way. He can sit still if he's working on something that he's really engrossed in, but otherwise he's got to be moving. Mealtime is when I see it the most, because it's polite to sit in your seat and eat..but he's off the chair, on the chair, has to go the bathroom, comes back, has to go by his brother's chair, comes back, off the chair, on the chair again. The number of times that we say "Sit in your seat nicely" during dinner is astounding. But he's otherwise a bright, atheletic little kid. If your son is still doing well in school and in social situations...than I think he's probably fine.

We try to look past the movement as much as possible. Watching his moving and energy makes me tired and anxious..but I think that that's probably my problem, not his. I know that in many educational schools of thought, boys are supposed to learn better when they are moving. Many all-boys schools focus on getting the kids up and active while they are teaching them. So, maybe our boys are just constantly learning about the world around them ... hence the CONSTANT movement!

I think your son needs to be evaluated... don't worry about "adding to the numbers" of ADHD, this is your son, and if he needs help, he needs help. There could be neurological issues, behavioral issues, or it could just be normal little boy behavior... but a specialist is trained to know the difference. He's probably going to have trouble in school if he can't sit still. Please don't rule out anything in your head-- if you're asking for help, you need to be open to al the options. ADHD doesn't have to be treated with meds, if that's what you are concerned about. There are dietary and behavioral interventions that may be all he needs.

Hope this works out for him and you...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news you don't want to hear, but have him checked for Tourette's Syndrome. People that have that get behavioral "tics" that they cannot control--if one is pointed out to them (i.e. STOP FIDGETING!), they may stop that particular mannerism but will quickly replace it with another.

I agree you have to be careful with dx'ing ADHD - it is not the catch all the schools and most psychiatrists want it to be, and then they just automatically put kids on (dangerous) drugs that keep the kids "in-line" for the school's convenience, NOT dealing with what is in the best interest of the child. If a child is displaying ADHD symptoms (keep in mind there is NO TEST for ADHD, it is simply a group of symptoms), that means something is out of balance - biologically - it is NOT a "behavioral" problem as the schools would have you believe, and it is not necessarily an "in born chemical imbalance". It may just mean some vitamin/minerals, etc are out of whack.

I suggest reading this:


Consult with a Naturopathic doctor and see what they have say - the true "cause" for this behavior may be a simple fix. A simple change in diet or an undiagnosed allergy or intolerance.

Just a different approach.

Since you work full-time, you may have the opportunity to go to meetings or luncheons. Watch your co-workers behavior. How many of them can sit still for even 5 minutes? I think it's perfectly normal (albeit annoying) that he fidgets. My mother-in-law used to ask my husband if he was giving the Devil a ride because he was always bouncing his legs or twirling his feet. I wouldn't worry about it unless you see more serious movement, like jerking or twitching. Then you can see your ped.

Hi K.,

How is he at school for his teacher? Can he sit still enough to do his work?

I don't want to upset your nor cause a great discussion on this fact because it is very controversial. I understand your feelings on adhd, but it is real. I agree that there is too many kids that are diagnosed with it and on medicine for it, but there is some children that it is real for and they are the ones that do need the medicine in order to function properly. I am in no way saying that your son is one of them. What I am saying is that us as parents need to do what is best for our children even if it means that we put them on medicine (that we are against) so they can become the person they are meant to be. We want the best for our kids.


It was great reading this and seeing that my son is not the only one that absolutely cannot sit still at the dinner table...it drives me crazy. He is in constant motion. He also feels the need to be doing something else while watching TV like one of the other moms suggested and he is also very athletic and bright. And every once in awhile he will stop fidgeting long enough to read a book or concentrate really hard on a project. He's always been active and he's the healthiest kid I know (only missed one day of school last year with a stomach bug that lasted a whopping 6 hours!). I try to get him outside to play as much as possible and when possible he plays sports on a team. When he's not bouncing off my couch, chairs, walls, floors, and everything else he's a great kid. If he seems okay in school and you see glimpses of a normal healthy child I wouldn't worry too much about it but it doesn't hurt to talk to the teacher and the doctor just to make sure you are all on the same page. And keep him active to burn off some of that excess energy! Otherwise, it'll drive you crazy..my son is nine and he's still a ball of energy.

I have a dd who is 14 and was diagnosed with ADD (not the H part) in between 5th and 6th grade. We went for many months trying behavior modifications and reward systems, but when a child's brain works differently it can just be frustrating to them and to the parents.

You are correct in thinking that many more kids are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD now, and you certainly don't want to throw medicine at the problem first thing, but PLEASE don't rule it out because of the stigma. The medications that are out there now are not like the old time ritalin where the kid looks doped out for hours until it's close to the time for the next set of medications.

Kids with ADHD CAN SIT STILL when they are focused on something that really interests them. My daughter can read a book she loves for hours, but couldn't stay focused on homework. Her 6th grade year was a nightmare with a minimum of 3 and sometimes 5 HOURS of homework a night--every night, and she was in a class with a teacher who also "didn't believe in ADHD" and would not make any accomodations for her struggles. The other kids took maybe 45 min to an hour to finish the same work, and because my dd was smart, and could get it done, she didn't care how long it took. We began the a small dose of Concerta in the summer and increased the amount twice to what she is on now. What a difference!!! Now she can stay focused at school and throughout the evening to finish homework in a minimal amount of time. Our lives are more peaceful and she feels better about herself since she knows it's not an intelligence issue. She is very creative and loves to do projects and make elaborate stories.

I hope that ADHD is not the case with your son but for his sake, please don't rule it out completely. Look into all the other options and talk to your pediatrician about what other things it could be and then get more facts thru the internet and books about it.

When my family was giving me problems with our situation, I described it to them as ==what if your child needed glasses to see better, but you refused because too many children wear glasses, and I don't want mine being called 4 eyes== That's how I NOW see taking meds for ADD. It's a tool to help the brain focus.

I hope you can figure out what to do about your son, and wish you the very best.

Best wishes

my son is the same way he just turned 4 yrs old. We can try to explain to him he has to sit still and while we are trying to tell him he twitches his hand he will start at his privates then to his tummy and then he will twitch his hand on his head. he doesnt get along with other children tends to stick more to his self which really worries me but at the same time i dont wonna do the meds for adhd i have heard alot of things about it. but i really dont know how much more i can handle his step father works 12 hrs a day and im 3 months pregnant with my 2nd child and my stress level is completely maxed im sorry for what you are going through i really understand and wish you the best .................

I didn't have time to read the other responses so I may be repeating something you have already heard - but here goes:

I witnessed a breakthrough with a first grader who acted as you are describing your son. This boy was given a 'squeeze ball' (those thick rubbery balls you use to exercise your hand). From the day he was handed that he was a different kid. He was able to use the excess energy and focus without being distracting. I only saw it in the school setting, but after a few months he no longer used the squeeze ball.

My 6 year old son does this too and it drives me just as crazy. But I don't seem to notice it all the time. It seems to be worse on days like today, when he was in school all day and then I expected him to sit (relatively) still during his sister's dance class. I was looking at him like "Who is this kid?". He's excellent at school and is never in trouble, follows directions, etc. But it seems like that means that when he gets home, because he spent all day "controlling" himself, he can't do it at home. My solution tonight was to make him play outside to help him get out this energy and it seemed to help. So maybe your son needs a physical outlet like mine seems to?

what do they say at school daycare? If same problem there then might just want to talk to the pediatrician first.

ADHD is quite real and there are also many cases that are not diagnosed and wait until adulthood.

I once had a 5 yo in my class who couldn't stop fidgeting. His mom was worried and took him to the ped.
The ped seemed to think that this was a "coping" mechanism for him. He was a quiet, sensitive child but could be high energy and outspoken at times.
Anyway, a couple of avenues to consider is 1) talk to his teacher. If she has concerns, see if they can arrange for an in-class observation to be done. This is where they bring in a child-psychologist who works with the school to observe. If they find anything worrisome they will meet with you to discuss options.
2) Take your child to his pediatrician. Make sure you're documenting the times and dates you notice these behaviors and have them on hand(also any other factors you may consider pertinent- ie. what was his mood, what were the circumstances surrounding the behavior, note any tiredness or hunger that may be a cause). Make sure you are specific when discussing your concerns with the ped.
Hope this helps. Good luck.

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