ADHD in preschool: 4 signs you might see

A lot of people wonder how early ADHD can be diagnosed. Signs of ADHD can show up as early as preschool. Here's what you might see.

1. Never slowing down

Lots of kids with ADHD need to move constantly. Your child may struggle to wind down at night and keep popping out of bed to do things. Or your child might struggle to sit still for circle time at the library or school. (Not all children with ADHD are hyperactive, though — some may seem daydreamy and off in their own world.)

2. Throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat

Kids with ADHD have trouble managing emotions. Your child may overreact to seemingly minor things by crying or yelling. At school, your child might fall apart during the slightest disagreement with another child. Tantrums are so common at this age, though, that it can be hard to know what’s typical. Get an expert’s take.

3. Needing constant direction

Kids with ADHD often struggle with planning and staying focused. Your child might refuse to play alone or need you to explain what to do lots of times. Following directions can be hard, too — especially if they have more than one step.

4. Seeming “all over the place”

Kids with ADHD tend to have trouble with self-control. That includes controlling movements. Your child may seem clumsy and accident prone. Or your child might ask a lot of questions but not stick around long enough to hear the answers.

Keep in mind that signs of ADHD can be confusing in young kids. It can be hard to tell what’s typical for their age. See more signs of ADHD in kids. And find out what steps to take if you think your child might have ADHD.


Next steps