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Impulsivity Explained: Understanding Impulsivity in Children

It can be difficult to keep up with kids who randomly run off into the distance or impatiently wait in line while shoving others. It's also tempting to shrug these abrupt behaviors off as a part of being a kid. But these hasty actions are symptoms of impulsivity -- the tendency to act without much thought or an inclination to react to situations in a rapid and unthoughtful manner. Impulsivity in children can vary at different ages and can also be a sign of various mental health conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. If its left unchecked, it can hamper academic performance and social skills.
Parents often struggle with understanding the spontaneous behavior in their children. But impulsivity in children is recognizable when you know what to look for. Read on to discover how to spot and manage impulsivity.

Signs of Impulsivity in Children

Impulsivity is a symptom of ADHD, which typically starts during childhood. Impulsive behaviors are often characterized by random actions children may demonstrate that differs from typical behavior of children within their age group. Thus, it's important to recognize them in your child. Here are some common signs of impulsivity in children:
  • Frequently interrupting conversations
  • Difficulty with sitting still during meal time
  • Toy-snatching
  • Fidgeting during television shows, game time, storytime or performances
  • Running into other children often during playtime
  • Excessive climbing and jumping on furniture
  • Frequently getting into trouble
  • Frequently getting injured
  • Constantly interrupting other students during class time to play
  • Pushing while in line
  • Excessive talking
  • Lack of patience

Management Tips

Impulsivity management and teaching impulse control  is achievable if you have a plan in place. Try these management tips to address any issues and to help them focus while getting them back on track:
  • Help them identify impulsive behavior. Sometimes your child is unable to recognize when she or he is being impulsive. Calmly let them know when they are exhibiting hasty behavior.
  • Offer praise. Make sure to give your child recognition when she is demonstrating behavior you want her to repeat. Talk about how it makes her and others feel.
  • Connect. Join a support group or network with other parents and families who are dealing with impulsive children. You can learn from one another and also share management tips for addressing adverse behavior.

What more can be done?

We work every day with kids and adults struggling with focus, impulsivity, and associated ADHD symptoms. A person’s ability to focus and regulate their emotions and behavior relies heavily on brain connectivity. The Brain Balance program is uniquely designed to focus on building brain connectivity and improving the foundation of development, rather than implementing coping strategies for life. Even better, parents reported 53% improvement in their child’s happiness following the completion of the Brain Balance Program.1

If you are looking for a different approach that gets to the root of these symptoms, let’s talk. An assessment can help to identify opportunities so we can talk about an action plan.

1 https://www.mentalhealthjournal.org/articles/a-retrospective-review-of-parent-reported-anxiety-and-emotional-functioning-in-children-with-developmental-challenges-after-participation-in-the-brain-balance-program.html

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