Impulsivity, or acting without thinking, can be a real problem for kids (and yes, for adults too).
What does impulsivity look like? When it happens once in a while, it can look like everyday kid behavior. When it happens a lot, though, it looks like what it actually is: Trouble with self-control. Impulsivity doesn’t appear the same way in every child. And the behaviors can change as kids get older.
When kids are impulsive, they might:
A recent study found that Canadian children (8 to 11 years old) were less likely to be impulsive if:
Although the study is not conclusive, it suggests that sleep is essential and that too much time on video games or social media may affect a child's ability to self-regulate. Daily exercise was also a factor that was analyzed but did not appear to impact impulsive behaviors in this particular study.1 I find mindful exercise and mind-body practices to be particularly helpful.
Learn more about sleep, screen time, mind-body practices, and supplement use in the sections below.
Kids need different amounts of sleep depending on their age. See the recommended ranges below.
Infants aged 4-12 months need 12-16 hours a day (including naps).
Children aged 1-2 years need 11-14 hours a day (including naps).
Children aged 3-5 years 10-13 hours a day (including naps).
Children aged 6-12 years need 9-12 hours a day.
Teens aged 13-18 years need 8-10 hours a day.
Kid(s) not getting enough? Find essential information in this article series to help support sleep: The Connection Between ADHD and Sleep. You'll find lots of resources in the article (e.g., melatonin use and chronobiological treatments).
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
Here are some resources to consider:
Be sure to check with your doctor before adding any supplements.
1. Tyrosine: Building block for dopamine/norepinephrine. Try Resilient Remedies Energized Mood.>>>
2. GABA: Reduce nervous system excitability. Try Resilient Remedies Unwind.>>>
3. Magnesium: Calm the CNS and neuromuscular system. Try Resilient Remedies Relax Powder.>>>
4. Lithium Orotate: Soothe anger, mood swings, and aggression. Try Resilient Remedies Steady Mood.>>>
5. Inositol and L-theanine: Can reduce arousal level that may drive impulsivity. Try Resilient Remedies Unwind and Peace Of Mind.>>>
1. Guerrero, M. D., Barnes, J. D., Walsh, J. J., Chaput, J. P., Tremblay, M. S., & Goldfield, G. S. (2019). 24-Hour Movement Behaviors and Impulsivity. Pediatrics, e20190187.
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