Restlessness in Children

Category: Parenting

Restlessness in Children

Some children may be quite challenging to manage due to their high activity levels. Such children are often fidgety and respond to new situations rapidly. Healthy Children defines the way a child reacts to the world around him as temperament. Temperament determines a child’s personality, such as calm or restless. Restlessness is an inborn quality, but medical conditions and environmental factors can cause it.


  • As a normal part of development, young children tend to be active and lively. Nevertheless, children may exhibit extreme cases of restlessness when they get too active, noisy and disruptive or respond to stimuli rapidly, so that parents find it difficult to control them. At times, restless children may become demanding, excitable and find it difficult to concentrate on one thing, notes the Royal College of Psychiatrists. You may need to take children for diagnosis when they show extreme levels of restlessness since some of the causal factors can be treated or managed.


  • Children may become restless because of mental disorders or environmental influences. Lack of enough sleep in children is one of the leading causes of restlessness. In a study involving 140 second, fourth and sixth graders, researchers found that children are increasingly delaying sleep times, according to the American Psychological Association. This makes them feel tired, have difficulty in paying attention and learning may be compromised. Results from the study show that factors leading to delayed sleeping time include physiological changes, hormonal changes, increased school demands and late night TV watching.


  • Sometimes parents may stifle children’s creativity when they restrict them. Parents, caregivers and teachers, need to manage restlessness in a way that will not hamper a child’s physical and cognitive development. Parenting Arizona recommends that becoming a role model is one of the ways to manage restlessness in children. Showing patience in your everyday life may influence the child to do the same. Another suggestion is that parents should give children options, such as walking away from provoking situations or counting to ten, to help children cultivate patience.


  • Even though restlessness is part of a child’s normal development, at times it may get overboard. According to the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, signs of extreme restlessness include hyperactivity, inattention, temper tantrums, irritability and impulsiveness. These signs may point to problems such as abuse or ADHD. When a child shows extreme restlessness, it is advisable to seek a medical assessment. The doctor will then prescribe treatment based on findings from the assessment.

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