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WAMBUI
WAMBUI asks:
Q:

How should I make my 3  1/2years old boy who is hyperactive listen to instructions the 1st time and also help him with his writing.

In Topics: ADHD & attention issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Apr 4, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Speak clearly and with dual eye contact i.e. make sure he is looking at your face. Stop all activity around (no multitasking).  Give clear, short instructions and follow with a complement or kindness if it succeeds. For writing at 3.5 years old, I would work with him in very short purposeful sessions again with lots of praise for good work.
He is 3.5 years old--don't expect too much.  It takes time, but you have started by wanting to try. Good luck.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Additional Answers (5)

LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
Make the instructions very simple and direct.  Only give one instruction at a time while mainting eye contact.  For example you could say, "honey, go get your jacket then come back to me."  When the child returns, praise him with,  "I like the way you listened to mommy and followed my direction."  Then you can give the next instruction the same way.  As for help with writing - lots of hands on, fun writing.  You can make letters with sticks in the sandbox, trace letters in the backyard with shaving cream, use playdough to roll and shape letters.  All of these things are pre-writing strategies that will help your son later form his writing.  I wouldn't stress too much right now about penmanship and paper/pencil activities.  Make it fun and game like.
> 60 days ago

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toomomma
toomomma writes:
It helps when you not only make eye contact, but also get down on their eye level when doing so. One thing I have found to really help with my son is touch. When he is having a hard time focusing on my words I touch his shoulder gently while talking to him. Also ask him to repeat back what you just said "Now, what did Mommy say to do?"
I wouldn't put too much emphasis on writing just yet, keep it fun and simple. You don't want to turn him off by overdoing it. Most boys will get more interested the older they get.
Also don't forget most boys are considered hyper, so don't label him too early. This is not done until they are around 8 years old. If a doctor suggest differently get a second opinion with a diagnostician
> 60 days ago

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Hand in Hand
Hand in Hand , Teacher, Caregiver, Parent writes:
Dear Parent:

One of the things that helps children who move quickly from activity to activity is to have play times when they get to play hard, and play physically. You can call this horseplay or wrestling or playfighting or horsing around, but whatever you call it, it's great for children's development. It may seem counter to what you would expect, but a good fifteen minutes to half an hour of good physical play can help a child feel the warm connection between himself and the parent who plays with him. This sense of connection is the "gas" in his emotional tank that encourages him to care what you say verbally, and makes him interested in cooperating and being part of making things go well between him and others in the family.

In this kind of play, there are a couple of important guidelines. One is to get down to the child's level, on your knees, and to find a good soft safe surface on which to play: carpet or tumbling mats, if you have something like that available. Move furniture and breakables out of the way, so you and your child don't have to worry about bumps and accidents.

Second, watch what lets your child laugh, and do lots of that. Most children laugh hardest, over and over again, when they manage to be the stronger, swifter, cleverer one in play. The adult plays hard, but never harder than the child plays, and when a pillow is thrown, the adult falls down. When the child hides, the adult tries but can't find him. When it's a chase, the adult manages to get the child's shirttail, but the child gets away most of the time.

Third, don't tickle. Nuzzling, blowing raspberries, bouncing, thumping, rolling all are good--lots of affectionate physical contact is great. But don't use your fingers to trap a child into giggles. This isn't laughter that lets stress exit his system. It's laughter that you force, and your child can't tell you when he needs you to stop. So some nuzzling here and there is much better than tickling.

Fourth, you can expect that your child will find reasons to cry hard after such play times, or even during them. Children who are hyperactive tend to have feelings of fear hidden in their emotional memories, that we think might be caused by scary things that have happened to them in their young lives. They are active because they have to keep one step ahead of feeling scared again. The vigorous play lets them be the victor in play, lets them have a scramble and come out just fine, over and over again. The laughter in the play releases some of the tension they feel much of the time, and helps them feel closer than before. And it also makes those underground feelings more accessible. So if he starts a big cry about you cutting his toast the wrong way, or some other tiny thing he sees as having gone wrong, don't be surprised. He wants to offload these other, more powerful feelings. The best way to help him do this is to move close, and Staylisten. This means staying, saying very little, but not fixing the situation. Don't get a fresh piece of toast. If he got bumped, don't get ice or a band aid right now. Put your arms around your little guy and give him your love and your attention while his feelings pour out.

This will allow him to get those feelings off his chest, and afterward, to relax with you, feel your caring, and want to do well.

His writing and other school-type skills will come along nicely if you are doing this vigorous play, and listening fully to his tears until he doesn't feel like crying any more.

There's more about this in the article below, and at the website I will indicate.

It's great that you're asking these questions now, while he's little--it's never too early to get help when you see that you want things to be easier for your son than they are right now. What a caring mom you are.

Yours

Patty Wipfler

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RoxanneR
RoxanneR , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
Children at this age already like to be busy so adding on the fact that he’s hyperactive certainly makes it a bigger challenge for you, especially if you’re trying to work on his writing skills at the same time.

When it comes to giving him instructions, always make sure that you have his full attention.  If you’re telling him something as you’re driving in the car or running around the house, you can’t guarantee that he’s actually listening.  Make sure that you’re meeting his eyes and even have him repeat instructions back to you.  Given his age, you’ll want to make sure that you break instructions up into smaller parts as he won’t remember a whole list of items.  I’ve also found that placing your hand on a hand, shoulder or back helps children focus on what’s being said.  

For a child this age, sitting still for any extended period of time is difficult.  He sounds like a child who needs to keep active so sitting at a desk just isn’t going to work.  When it comes to writing, you’re working on developing his pre-writing skills so the focus isn’t on sitting down with a pencil and paper.  You don’t want to make him resent writing or he’ll fight it every single time.  

You’re going to need to make the tasks quick and fun.  There are various ways you can have him develop his fine motor skills without him realizing that he’s “working”.  Below are some fun ideas:

- Sidewalk talk – using chalk on your sidewalk, patio, fence or even a large chalkboard if available, you can let him write and draw for fun
- You can actually purchase “blackboard” paint and paint a bedroom wall or maybe the bottom of the wall where he can reach with this paint.  If you’re really inspired, you can paint with magnetic paint underneath and he can have a blackboard that can also hold magnets.  Give him magnetic letters to trace or copy.  Writing and drawing his stories will be fun for him and still help develop fine motor skills.
- Finger painting
- Painting/coloring on huge rolls of newsprint on the floor or taped to the wall.
- Sandbox fun – if you have access to a sandbox you can get him to write in the sand or you can purchase bags of colored sand from the craft store, pour it into a cake pan and let him draw and write.  If you can get Zen garden items such as rocks and a small rake he’ll love raking and organizing the sand.  It’s actually quite a calming experience for children when they do this.
- Beading – getting a bead onto a string actually requires a certain degree of coordination and dexterity.  Children at this age love making things for Mom or Grandma.  Make sure to use beads with larger holes and stiffer thread (or soft wire) so that the task is fun and not a difficult challenge.
- Glue bags – fill a large Ziploc bag with white glue then let him choose the color of dye to add (remember that red makes pink).  Add approximately 15 drops, seal the bag minus air as much as possible, and then let him squish around the bag to mix the color.  Once the color has met his seal of approval, let him use his fingers to write or draw images.  He can shake or mush the bag each time he’s ready to start something new.
- Drawing a la Leonardo Da Vinci – tape large pieces of paper to the bottom of a low table or chair.  Let him lie on the floor and paint (use thicker poster paint for this).  Kids think that painting upside down like this is so much fun!
- Play-do – fashioning things for fun can also turn into a game where you challenge him to make various letters, or even see if he can spell out his name in Play-do.
- Using whipping cream, shaving cream or pudding on a cookie sheet, get him to write or draw for fun.  If it’s edible, he’s going to love it!
- Scented markers are always a big hit.  Get some large pieces of colored paper to make it even more fun.  You can always enhance the activity by adding glue and sparkles once he’s finished with the markers.
- Jigsaw puzzle letters – using the back of a picture done by your son or a postcard, have your son write a letter to Grandma or Grandpa.  Using children’s scissors let him cut the letter into several pieces, then mail.  He’ll love the idea of mailing a puzzle for them to put together, and the more they rave about it, the more he’ll want to do it again.

Other ways to help him stay focused during the above tasks, if they involve a period of sitting are to tie a large piece of elastic (the kind you get from a physiotherapist’s office) around the two front legs of his chair.  He can continue to move his feet in and out of the elastic so he’s still getting that movement he craves.  You can also give him a stress ball to squeeze with his free hand.  Having his other limbs occupied while he focuses on the activity will also help improve his focus.

Be sure to give him breaks during this constructed playtime.  You want him to also have his own free time to play.  Maybe after 15-30 minutes of your activity (depending on how engaged he is), encourage him to do something he wants to do.  Obviously, you’ll notice when he needs a break because he’ll become squirmy.  Don’t make it obvious that you’re giving him a break because you don’t want him to figure out that the activity isn’t just something fun you’ve dreamt up.  Sometimes, I’ve unexpectedly told squirmy children stand up and we’ve played a quick game of Simon Says.  I’ve had them do silly things like 4 jumping jacks followed by 3 twirls and then 2 hops and 1 high five.  Children love the challenge of trying to remember a “list” of instructions and it helps them come back to the task at hand better focused.  They just think you’re being silly and they don’t realize the interruption is solely to help them regain concentration.

No matter what activity you decide to do, just remember to keep it short and fun.  As long as he enjoys himself and considers it playtime, he’ll want to do it again and again.
> 60 days ago

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parent_21
parent_21 writes:
you should tell him that if he doesnt listen then your going to spank him it's all about disipline
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