Montessori World

An educational blog for children and adults

Be more patient towards hyperactive children

I don’t know when this incident happened. An Indian father recently caused the death of histhree-year-old daughter who was believed to possess hyperactive deficiency disorder. The father assumed she was naughty and hence opted to beat her with stick and abused her with cigarette butts. Obviously, hyperactive children are still a big question for parents, teachers and scientists to understand and resolve. The causes of their behavior are still under much research.

Hyperactive children have incomplete brain development, resulting in them unable to control their movements and actions. I am not sure whether this kind of disorder should be classified as a kind of disease or behavioral disorder, since a large number of parents of such children have shown similar hyperactive movements during younger days.

Hyperactive children usually do not obey rules, seem to be naughty and unruly in school as well as at home. Teachers must observe children who display this kind of behavior to enable the children to be diagnosed and given treatment as quickly as possible. Parents on the other hand should also resist altogether in beating their children, with hands or canes. Spare the rod does not mean the child would be spoiled.

You must be wondering what are the symptoms of a hyperactive child. Let’s look at them:

  • irregular movements
  • mild fidget
  • unable to sit at one place for a long time
  • violently jumping and climbing all over the place
  • talking incessantly
  • interrupt impatiently
  • mild lack of concentration
  • If the above symptoms are noticeable very frequently for 6 months and above, do consult a psychologist or paediatrician immediately.

How does a Montessori environment assist a hyperactive child? By giving him or her the freedom to work about by choosing an activity from the shelves. The child is also able to move freely, expressing himself or herself according to the daily routine. The rules in the classroom also allow a hyperactive child to act accordingly and sensibly, assisting him or her to be a self-disciplined child.


December 26, 2007 - Posted by | disorder | ,


  1. My 4 year old is in Montesorri pre-k and I was informed by his teacher that he is ‘unusally’ hyperactive. I have recently enrolled my ‘hyperactive’ child into karate (it is noted that this helps in the area of self-discipline). In addition to this whatelse besides medication interactive methods, at-home plans, etc.,specifically can be done in the classroom to assist in his success in the Montesorri classroom.

    Comment by marie flowers | January 13, 2008

  2. marie flowers: I have discussed your worries, which is a common problem among parents, with a child development lecturer, and we share the same response to your query.
    Do remember that most children are generally categorised as ‘hyperactive’. Consult a psychologist to diagnose your child symptoms to ensure that he is ‘unusually hyperactive’ so that the problem, if there is one, can be dealt with appropriately. Or else he might be overloaded with activities at the end of the day.
    The best place to start to assist your child is your child himself. Observe and mentally record what is his interest and strength before embarking on starting any projects with him, or for him.
    I hope my two cents worth opinion will spark some inspiration for you and your child.

    Comment by rani | January 21, 2008

  3. While the brains of hyperactive (ADHD) children do not neccessarily function the same as other children I would say that the brain development is incomplete.

    Hyperactive children usually do not obey rules, seem to be naughty and unruly in school as well as at home. ADHD children may be more proned to not obey rules this does not mean they don’t obey the rules. Many ADHD children are actually well-behaved.

    You must be wondering what are the symptoms of a hyperactive child. Let’s look at them: … mild fidget … mild lack of concentration
    It would be better to say moderate to excessive fidgeting. In most cases the lack of concetration is moderate to sevre and not mild.

    Comment by TheDeeZone | January 26, 2008

  4. I have a gifted and hyperactive 7 year old. I’ve never known a child to be generous and happy the entire day than him. he’s a terror in school as he’s always trerribly misunderstood after CDs load of information we passed onto the school at various times.
    he’s a text book hyperactive child. does all it says and does the author proud.
    we are happy that he’s gifted. he’s 7 but in Grade3. his peers in classroom beeing an year and a half to 3years older than him. he learnt to push and have a say in the class and is by no means a timid child. he’s a born leader and a wise one at that. he’s still very poor with his and eye cordination, art ad craft work but is incredibly original in his art.

    Comment by Vatsala Wijekulasuirya | January 31, 2008

  5. TheDee Zone: Thanks for sharing ur opinion! My lecturer did mention that there is a distinctive difference between a hyperactive child and a ADHD child. They are not exactly the same. basically, ADHD child shows more severe symptoms compared to hyperactive child.

    Vatsala: U have a wonderful child there!! And he has a wonderful mother too…

    Comment by rani | February 26, 2008

  6. Rani,

    No it isn’t that the ADHD child shows more symptons. The symptoms are differant. The child with ADD is easily distractable and often apears to be day dreaming. Day dreaming or phasing out cause less problems in the classroom because the child is quite and not being disruptuive. However, ADD can be just as severe or more so than ADHD. The students I have had with ADD often have more problems because they will phase out and loose instruction. In a classroom full of students it can be difficult to catch a child phasing out.

    My opinion is based on years of teaching, life experience and research.

    Comment by TheDeeZone | February 26, 2008

  7. Hi,

    I have a 4.5 yr old son. He is very active and wants to play all the time, specially when I want him to sit and study. He does not show much interest in studies and has started lagging behind in his class. Also, when I warn him of his lagging behind, he does not take it seriously and starts creating tantrums as he wants to be out of the house. Is this because we both are working or is he hyperactive?

    Comment by Jyoti | September 17, 2008

  8. Jyoti,

    No, it is a readiness issue. Boys tend to be more immature, specially if they have summer birthdays. Also, what type of activities are you doing? Traditional school type pencil paper activities are inappropriate for a child your son’s age. Try play based and literature actives.

    Comment by TheDeeZone | September 17, 2008

  9. Hi,

    I have a 3 yrs old son.He is very active and wants to play more.He shows interest to study books, sometimes he behaves badly he can’t listen our words.He roughly behaves with other kids.In school also sometimes he can’t listen teacher’s words.One of our neighbour said he is hyperactive child consult with doctor.Is he hyperactive?

    Comment by Deepa | October 1, 2008

  10. Jyoti: Thanks for visiting my website. From what you described, he seem to be a normally active child who loves playing a lot. Seek out what is his interest in when he is playing. Does he play alone or with others? Pay attention to his language usage as well.
    Hardly any children of his age will really understand the repercussion of not studying, lagging behind their work, other than all the reprimand he gets from his teachers, parents and other adults. Wouldn’t you want him to be intrinsically motivated to learn, rather than merely tring to impress and make others feel happy?
    At his age, it is most important that he interacts well with his peers socially, uses appropriate and progressive oral language in his conversations and develop appreciation for learning numbers, reading or writing. Don’t push him/pressure him on homework. Most probably he is more keen on hands-on learning.

    Good luck and Happy Parenting!!

    Comment by rani | October 20, 2008

  11. Deepa: First of all, you mentioned a couple of times that your son ‘can’t listen’. Does that mean he has hearing problem or he doesn’t obey/understand the instructions?

    Boys generally can be boisterous with their siblings and friends. Make a record of his negative/’bad’ behaviour and the reasons behind it, if possible. See whether there is a pattern in the event itself, day of time or even the people around him.

    You did mention he ‘shows interest to study books’. If you read storybooks to him every night during bedtime, maybe you can tell him appopriately that if he behaves inappropriately on that day, you would not read any stories to him. Tell him this at the beginning of the day, so that he can prepare himself to behave positively. Don’t nag the idea into him all the time and don’t relay this message to him like a threat. He needs to learn the consequences of his actions.

    Happy Parenting and always remember to take a breather!

    Comment by rani | October 20, 2008

  12. I have a seven year old son and he is our only child & little pampered though.
    Lately we were trying to change his school and he was not given admission saying that his behaviour was not like a 7 year old. there was no eye contact and he is a hyper active child. My son is a very emotional child a a well behaved one too but suddenly chooses to make faces while speaking to outsiders and will not make eye contact but in no way is destructive. A very average child in studies. His class teacher complains that he seeks attention but is a child with a lot of reasoning. Very prompt with his replies. Does that mean my son needs help

    Comment by Arti | October 23, 2008

  13. Are you from Malaysia Arti?
    Usually unless your child has been diagnosed as incapable of displaying a 7-year-old behaviour, can the school reject his admission. Would you want your child to be diagnosed by a child psychologist? I can ask my lecturer if they can introduce somebody who is an expert in this field.
    Or, he could be bright enough to misled everybody around him that he has a different opinion of changing school?

    Comment by rani | November 14, 2008

  14. HI, I am running a montessori based school. This is the first year of the school. There is one child in my school who is very naughty and really out of control. Not sure if I can say him a hyperactive. He screams, disturb others, keeps wandering. Even misuses the montessori equipments like throwing it on the floor, little destructive sort of.He even bites children and the teacher in some cases, like if teacher is little firm or during small fight/argument. He keeps fidgeting with things he see. He never takes anything seriously. Doesnt want to concentrate on one thing. Without completing the current work he will jump to new work.He even ignores when he is called to stop him from doing something he should not be doing, in such cases we have to literally hold him and take him away from that place. Please suggest how this child should be handled. And if he requires any medical assistance.

    Comment by Nidhi | June 19, 2009

  15. Nidhi: Congrats on establishing your very own Montessori school!
    The imbalance behaviour repeatedly shown by this child is quite a handful-
    disturbing others,
    misuse equipment,
    fidgeting with things,
    not serious in anything,
    lack of concentration,
    ignoring instructions.

    Focus on one or a few similar incidents. Most importantly protect other children who might be hurt by him, like in the biting case. Signs of aggression can be caused by many factors. Same goes for misusing equipment. Sometimes the child is not yet ready for certain activity.
    As for the other issues {fidgeting with things,not serious in anything,lack of concentration,ignoring instructions}, it takes time, repetitive reminders and lots of patience to see a positive result. Start giving easy and short presentation, and slowly build the complexity of the exercise. Different child requires different challenging or exciting activities. I was surprised to see a new child working on the transferring rice by spoon from one bowl to another exercise for more than ten times, then decided to splurge the rice on to the floor and table instead. Don’t expect complete perfection and success in a wink. The child is still discovering!

    My another instant suggestion would be: to take into account the child’s age, going to school or any children’s enrichment centre experience, family background and partnership with his family. Most important of all ‘research’ the child ‘s inner world by talking to his caretakers: his favourite toys, colours, idols, songs, stories, food. Get to know him.

    Get the team in the school to record his misbehaving occurrences, include time, day, incident etc. and update to his caretakers on a daily basis. Tell them in advance that you are doing this and why. This record would also come in handy when you suspect the child should be diagnosed by an expert to assist him in his daily routines.

    Also look into these two resources which I find helpful:
    a) Susan Perrow’s book Healing Stories for Challenging behaviour.
    b) Lee Havis’s presentation on technology to be used in a Montessori classroom.

    Comment by rani | June 28, 2009

  16. Hi I am a mother of a seven year old child. My child is hypher active. He was slow in developing meaning he started talking late. He is in grade 1 (South African school). His teacher complains that his writing is very untidy, does not listen and is some times disruptive. He wheezes, although not so often now as he is on a pump/medication. I have decreased/stopped the intake of venteze as I have heard that this medication contributes to the children hypher active. I also notice that he battles to concentrate (fidgets all the time) when i help him with his school work. Please suggest some thing, not associated with any medication or drigs.

    Comment by ROMI | July 22, 2009

  17. Hi,
    I have a 5 year child that was born a micro-premmie(25 weeks)He has displayed some behavior over the years that has caused some concern for me. His father feels he is normal but just doesn’t listen and is undisciplined. I however see other behavior such as this thing he does when he is nervous or tired. He pushes on his face, just below his nose, with both of the backs of his hands. He pushes very hard. He also just started Kindergarden and his first day of orientation the teacher pulled us aside and said his speaking out during story time would be a problem. She repeatedly asked him to be quiet, to which he eventually stopped talking but would start right back up. He is able to watch shows and sit still for small periods of time but eventually ends up chewing on his shirt or figeting in some small way. I have received a referral to childrens hospital for a auditory behavior consultation but it has been months. I just called his doctor in order to maybe receive more help. He is a wonderful, loving, child with no signs of meanness. He does like to destruct what others have built. He also does not like to write,draw or color but loves playing on the computer. Do you think the Montessori enviroment is a good one for him. We don’t have any in our area and it would take a commute or a move to get him into that type of school

    Comment by Michele | August 14, 2009

  18. ROMI: Greetings from Malaysia!
    I suppose your child has breathing problem/asthmatic. Do talk to his doctor about alternative medicine/therapy (like yoga, breathing techniques or homeopathy medication) if you discontinue your son’s venteze intake. The doctor should be able to give you more explanation and perhaps solution agreeable to you.

    Each child starts conversing or talking at different ages. Beginning to talk at a later stage does not indicate the child will not catch up throughout his education years. Now that he has started talking, monitor his progress and take note of any detrimental changes.
    Untidy writing needs practice to transform into tidy writing. Set a routine for him for this exercise and give him a lot of praise when he has completed, despite the tidiness.
    Almost every child around the world shows signs of disruption, disobedience and attentiveness. It is important to address the event rather than the child. Talk to your child not by questioning but describing the exact event and the consequences. A lot of patience is needed. And most of all do not expect overnight changes.

    Comment by rani | August 14, 2009

  19. Michele: You must return to the hospital for clearance of any physical related behaviour problems.
    A Montessori environment is suitable for any type of children, including children with special needs. Do read up on this if you want more clarification.
    Explore your child’s interest in outdoor activities, close to nature type of activities. How about music and drama?

    Comment by rani | September 9, 2009

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