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.

Final Thoughts

Children who show signs of impulsivity often require direction to concentrate and practice control. You can help your child by first being able to recognize the signs of impulsivity. Additionally, you can consider getting the help of an expert team or professional who has experience with impulsivity and working with children who have mental health conditions. Contact us to learn more about our program!