Fidgeting Habits

Ask the Doctor


Q. My child will never sit still—he is constantly fidgeting or dashing around, playing with everything in sight. This is challenging for me, especially when we are in public. What’s going on?

A. A child that never sits still can present quite a challenge to both parents and teachers at school. To understand what is causing this, it is important to look at how old the child is and in what environments this behavior occurs. Very young children are often highly inquisitive and have short attention spans. However, if fidgeting and distraction occurs in a school-age child in all environments then it may indicate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a brain-based disorder that can cause difficulty with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The best way to begin evaluating these symptoms is to talk to your child’s primary care physician (PCP). The PCP may evaluate and treat your child or refer you to a child psychiatrist if the situation is complex. If the issue is ADHD, options for treatment include a variety of medications as well as behavioral therapy. Some children are able to learn over time how to manage their symptoms without medications. Severe symptoms may require longer term use of medications for adequate management.


Kenneth G. Pittman, M.D.

Focus Psychiatric Services

6400 Lee Highway

Suite 110

Chattanooga, Tn. 37421

(423) 899-5081