Advice on preschool for a 4 year old with hyperkinetic syndrome

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  • Iulia B.

    Hello everyone!

    Thank you for this wonderful forum and for all the CM resources and advice that I have found here.

    It’s my first post here, I would apreciate any advice on the subject matter as I am not sure where to go.

    My 4 year old boy has hyperkinetic syndrome, ADHD basically, as far as I understand. Until now we have been doing a lot of reading, he loves books, and a lot of nature time. I have tried integrating some crafts, experiments and other activities that he seemed attracted to.

    He avoids all activities that seem ,,boring” such as coloring, gluing, painting etc. But he loves woodworking, for example, so I set a little corner where he has tools to work.

    Today we saw a therapist for the first time and she suggested that I should try to work with him the difficult things he avoids (try colouring everyday for 2-3 minutes and increase time etc). So far I just followed his interests and didn’t insist too much on things he doesn’t like, I feel like I am forcing him.

    What do you think: what habits, what skills are more important for kids with ADHD to work on when they are little?

    Also, do you recommend some books on the subject?

    I admit I am somewhat at a loss right now. I had been trying a lot of things in terms of activities and discipline and they seemed to work great for other kids but not for him. Now I realized why but I am not sure how to approach everything.  For instance habit training since he seems to strugle a lot with instructions, self-control, he needs someone to always be present physically to redirect him. I never know if he is truly not wanting to do something or is struglling and needs help.

    We have plenty of things that are difficult and need working on but not sure where to start and how.

    I welcome any advice, book reference and other information you think is useful.


    Thank you very much!


    I am certainly not an expert and may not be at all helpful, but I wanted to respond to encourage you.  I am sure that someone with more knowledge will reply as well.  My oldest was never diagnosed with ADHD, though he probably would have been if we had taken him for testing.  He went to public school kindergarten and the teacher insisted he be tested and put on meds.  That is when we began homeschooling.  He graduated last year.

    I think 4 is very, very young.  Especially for boys.  Your son sounds like he is right on target for that age.  Lots of read alouds, maybe some hands on math.  I wouldn’t ask that he use crayons or pencils of any kind at that age.  Many children that young just arent ready.  Tracing in sand or flour or corn meal might be more developmentally appropriate.  It sound like you are already developing fine motor skills with workworking.  I would continue with handicrafts that he is interested in.  I might perhaps begin some habit training in attention and direction following.  Start by giving single directions and expecting them to be followed.  Like rather than go put on your shoes.  Which would include getting his shoes, bringing them to you and putting them on.  Maybe just, bring mom your shoes.  Again, at four years old this seems pretty age appropriate.  I wouldn’t start formal academics will the last possible moment.  That is six where I live and that is what I did with my oldest.  He has no ill effects from being one of the oldest in his graduating class.

    Another thing we did, and this may be pretty controversial, is we had a minimum of rules.  He was simply exhausting to keep up with.  He ALWAYS found a way to push the boundary and get scolded.  I was so tired of constantly disciplining him. And he wasn’t being naughty. It was more like “dont run in the house,” “I am not running mommy I am jogging.” And he sincerely did not think he was doing anything wrong.  So, in an effort to preserve the relationship we only had rules that involved safety and respect.  He ran in the house, he jumped on the couch, he yelled, he threw balls.  BUT, when I said stop he stopped. Every time.  He was expected to obey.  But I gave few “commands.”  This took a lot of work.  I had to really stick to my guns on the few rules I had.  One time he was on time out for hours because we kept starting over until he sat for a full 3 minutes. But that only happened once. He learned I was going follow through. We left play dates, stores, parks, etc on many occasions because I said if you____ then we leave.  It was very hard, but worth it.

    Keeping rules simple and discipline consistent saved my sanity and our relationship.  And he is a fine, responsible, kind, respectful individual who still likes to be around his mom.

    I also had to constantly “help” him with everything.  I just helped, until he either realized saying something was too hard wasnt getting him out of it, or he just figured it out. Sometimes I would try different ways.  He still ties his shoes differently than everyone I know.

    We also made some dietary changes to help him not be amped up on things that affected his behavior.

    I hope you find some wisdom here.  Four is  just so little.  Big changes happen over the years and you will one day look back and marvel at how far you and he have come.

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