Common Signs And Symptoms Of ADHD In Toddlers

Symptoms of ADHD in toddlers is tricky to recognize as they resemble normal behavior

All toddlers are usually excited about almost everything, hyperactive, and full of energy all the time. Running behind them, you wonder where they get all the energy from to be that active. However, in a few cases, your tiny toddler might be so because of a brain disorder, like ADHD.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is a disorder wherein the affected child has difficulty paying attention, is overly active, and not much in control. This is extremely hard to diagnose as even healthy kids behave in such a manner. So here are some common signs and symptoms of ADHD that can help with diagnosis.


1. Inattention

Toddlers with ADHD jump from one activity to another constantly and do not pay attention

Toddlers with ADHD find it difficult to:

  • Focus and complete any task
  • Listen for too long
  • Remember instructions and follow them
  • Remember details
  • Organize toys
  • Remember where things are

Toddlers with ADHD need not be inattentive all the time. They lose focus when tasks are repetitive or boring. They tend to jump from one activity to another quickly and have trouble completing a task. Such toddlers need a quiet, peaceful environment to concentrate on anything. They find it difficult to process information correctly or immediately.

However, these behaviors are extremely common in toddlers and need not necessarily indicate ADHD symptoms.


2. Hyperactivity

Toddlers with ADHD are hyperactive and roam around continuously

This is a sign of ADHD that stands out the most and is obvious. Such toddlers tend to move around a lot and try to do different things at the same time. Even if they sit at one place, at least one part of their body will be in constant motion.


Toddlers with ADHD might show the following symptoms constantly:

  • Being restless and fidgety
  • Not able to stay calm or sit quietly for more than a few minutes
  • Talking nonstop
  • Moving around continuously
  • Shifting from one place/toy to another constantly

3. Impulsive Behavior

Toddlers suffering from ADHD do not think before they act or speak and throw tantrums


The impulsive behavior of such toddlers manifests in the form of a lack of self-control and no control on what they say and do. They have no patience and do not think before taking any action. They tend to be moody, extremely sensitive, short-tempered, and overly emotional.

Slightly older toddlers might express the following symptoms:

  • Invading another’s personal space
  • Interrupting conversations
  • Acting without a second thought
  • Speaking without being asked to
  • Having constant outbursts and throwing tantrums.

Other Common Symptoms Of ADHD

Toddlers with ADHD are more aggressive during play and daring beyond caution

While the three are the most common signs of ADHD in toddlers, you’ll be able to find a few of these symptoms as well:

  • Extreme aggression while playing
  • Getting close to strangers quickly
  • Extreme fearlessness; no understanding of safety
  • Not able to hop on one foot by age 4

Positive Symptoms Of ADHD

Toddlers suffering from ADHD are usually born more creative and intelligent than normal kids

ADHD also brings some positive effects on toddlers. Such kids tend to be born with an artistic or intellectual ability.

  • They have a high energy to play or work on a task if they want to.
  • They are motivated and have the drive to reach a goal, provided they set it for themselves.
  • They are flexible with different ideas and do not stick to one option. They are open to new alternatives.
  • They are extremely creative and have a huge imagination. They get inventive ideas and solve problems quickly.

Why Diagnosis And Treatment Of ADHD Is A Must

Just because a kid is inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive doesn’t mean he/she has ADHD. Toddlers naturally tend to lack focus, have excess energy that tries to find outlets, and be impulsive with what they speak and do.

Also, all of these symptoms can apply to several other behavioral and brain-related disorders or due to certain life experiences. Here are a few examples:

  • Traumatic life events, such as death of a loved one or shifting to a different city
  • Learning disabilities
  • Psychological disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Other conditions such as epilepsy, nerve disorders, sleep disorders, and thyroid issues

ADHD has no absolute cure yet, but you can make certain lifestyle and diet changes to make it better for the toddler. ADHD symptoms will continue to adulthood if left untreated, which ruins the kid’s chance for a happy life. Although there’s no need to be paranoid, be a little observant and take action if you think your tiny toddler has any behavioral issues.