How to Recognize ADHD in Toddlers?

Does your child suffer from ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? It is not always easy to understand and identify because toddlers tend to be inattentive in general. However, ADHD is more than just typical behavior for a toddler as the condition can actually extend from toddler age and eventually affect teens as well as adults. Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of ADHD from early childhood to take the necessary steps. Symptoms of ADHD start manifesting from the age of 2 to 3 years old. Typically, kids within these age group are often inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive.

This means that they are apparent even in kids without ADHD. Unless these symptoms continue for more than six months and have an impact on the child’s ability to participate in activities appropriate for their age, they will not be diagnosed with ADHD. You need to take great care when a child under 5 is being diagnosed with ADHD, especially if medications are being considered. It is best if such a diagnosis is made by a pediatrician who specializes in behavior and development or a child psychiatrist. An ADHD quiz may also be taken to check if the child suffers from this disorder.

Some of the common symptoms that are seen in toddlers with ADHD are:

Difficulty in paying attention

A key sign of ADHD is that a child finds it difficult to pay attention. They are unable to focus on one activity, don’t complete tasks because they get bored, find it difficult to listen due to distraction and have trouble processing information and following instructions.

Squirming and fidgeting

Previously, ADHD was known as ADD or attention deficit disorder. The name was changed to incorporate impulsivity and hyperactivity. Children with the disorder are overly squirmy and fidgety, talk and make noise excessively, are unable to sit still for eating, reading and other activities and are constantly in motion.


Impulsivity is another notable symptom of ADHD as the toddlers will be extremely impatient with others, refuse to wait for their turn in anything, interrupt others, have difficulty controlling their emotions, blurt out things at inappropriate times, are prone to outbursts and intrude on others.

Again, it is important to note that such behaviors are considered normal in toddlers and only become concerning when they are extreme as compared to other similarly aged children.

Apart from these prominent symptoms, there are several other signs and symptoms that can often be seen in children suffering from ADHD, which are:

· Excessively bold behavior

· Endanger themselves or others due to fearless behavior

· Lack of caution when dealing with strangers

· Aggressive behavior in activities such as playing

· Inability to hop on one foot by the time they are four

Sometimes, a child with ADHD is also misdiagnosed because the toddlers tend to exhibit symptoms such as excessive energy, lack of focus and impulsivity. Parents and teachers both can often mistake ADHD for other issues. If a toddler is sitting quietly and behaving, they may not necessarily be paying attention. Therefore, a proper diagnosis is essential.