Impulsivity & Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity Help for Indoor-Weather Days

Hyperactivity, a symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often manifests itself in excess energy. Find strategies — or share your own — for coping during the shorter, colder days of winter.

A ADHD boy enjoying rock climbing at indoor climbing gym, healthy and active lifestyle concept
A ADHD boy enjoying rock climbing at indoor climbing gym, healthy and active lifestyle concept

Whether a parent of a child with or an adult diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you probably know that the criteria for being diagnosed with the “H” (hyperactivity) part of ADHD is to exhibit these six symptoms (and maybe others) for at least six months.

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
  • Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • Appears “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor.”
  • Talks excessively.

The question is, do you know how to handle the excess energy when the weather turns cold and the amount of daylight hours dwindles? We poked around, asked our friends on Facebook, and scoured our favorite ADHD-friendly sites to pull together these tips:

Plan plenty of indoor and outdoor energy-burning activities. Like ADHD Parenting Blogger Kay Marner learned the hard way, adults and children with ADHD may lose interest in just one pastime fairly quickly. Some of her ideas to try with kids who have ADHD? Take a brisk moonlight walk, turn the garage into a make-believe outer space, find sanctuary in an indoor play space, and treat ADHD with Nintendo Wii.

Participate in ADHD-friendly indoor sports and activities. Among them? Yoga, gymnastics, figure skating, martial arts (such as tae kwon do), boxing, and indoor rock climbing, swimming, track, and tennis. Of yoga, one adult with ADHD told ADDitude, “Yoga helps me slow down in the face of a tough evening.” (Find more tips for stress-free evenings.)

[Free Download: Great Sports & Activities for Kids with ADHD]

Find a workout partner. “Going to the club with a partner increases your likelihood of following through,” says Michele Novotni, Ph.D., in ADDitude‘s article “How to Keep the Gym Habit Going.” “It’s difficult to cancel at the last minute if you have someone waiting for you.”

Create a “jumping-only” space. On Facebook, Abby VanDyke shares, “I have a place in my classroom marked off for kids to just JUMP when they need to — not a trampoline but a marked spot on the floor … All my kids love it!” Is it just for kids? Candace Daniels Caggiano says, “That’s a great idea, Abby. As an HR coordinator, I will consider that in my office, for me … oh, and for others.”

Bundle up and head to the zoo, says Susan Bailey Davis, on Facebook.

Build indoor tents, forts, and cities, says Lori Gwilt, on Facebook.

Have kids with ADHD do winter chores. Blogger Marner shares this tip: “Natalie’s occupational therapist taught me that ‘heavy work,'” such as shoveling snow or ice, “has a calming and organizing effect on kids with ADHD and sensory processing disorder.”

[“His Energy Drains Me”]

Try one of these 15+ activites to keep children with ADHD entertained throughout the year from

Exercise along with fitness DVDs. They’re not just for adults — shares these titles that your child might enjoy!

Plan fun, games, and play to boost learning and increase focus and attention. Plus, these games are designed for adults and kids with ADHD!

Take a trip to an indoor water park, if you can afford it. Blogger Marner shares how at the end of one day of their family vacation her daughter fell right to sleep!

Avoid cold metal when impulsive wet tongues are near!

[The Five Faces of Your Child’s ADHD (as Told By Cartoon Characters)]