With our kids, we want to harness the energy of the hyperactive brain and provide healthy outlets for managing stimulation seeking behaviors. AND, we have to remember to manage over-stimulation, as well.
A lot of kids with ADHD can be really hyper and energetic, but also easily over-stimulated. If they are the ones spinning around like a Tazmanian devil or a poodle on caffeine, they are fine. But put them in a room with other chaotic energy – a loud television or music, a screaming or screeching sibling, or an angry parent – and they can become quite overwhelmed.
If your child prefers having quiet, or his or her own space, create a space in your home for your child to retreat, a “cave” to escape from the intensity of the environment long enough for your child to center herself. It doesn’t have to be a lot of space – it just needs to be a designated space that is guaranteed to let your child be left alone for a few minutes to regroup. Like a self-imposed time-out space that is restorative. It can be in his room (one of our sons literally created a “man cave” with L-shaped bunk beds, and tied up an extra sheet to cover the entrance), or outside (there’s nothing quite like a good climbing tree), a pop-up tent, a closet that’s not full of junk, or even a window seat. Most important, your child has to see it as a safe space.
Hyperactivity is one manifestation of your child’s challenges with regulating energy. Over-stimulation is another way that it shows up. So instead of waiting until your child shuts down, give him a space to recuperate.