London Manchester Online Book Now

For Parents: An ADHD Symptoms In Children Checklist

behaviour from potential signs of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
London  |  Manchester  |  Online
Book Now  |  0800 061 4276

For Parents: An ADHD Symptoms In Children Checklist


As a parent or carer, you may be wondering how to distinguish typical childhood behaviour from potential signs of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Of course, it’s natural for kids to be energetic, inattentive at times, or impulsive; after all, kids are kids! However, persistent and/or extreme behaviours might signal a need for closer attention. This ADHD symptoms in children checklist aims to empower parents by highlighting some common behavioural patterns to look out for.


  • Your child’s apparent inability to sit still constantly disrupts classrooms;
  • You’ve noticed them flitting between tasks and activities seemingly at random, struggling to see any through to completion;
  • Frequent mood swings are impacting life at home;
  • Or consistent forgetfulness is damaging academic performance.

Scenarios like these can be frustrating for both parents and children. Recognising the early signs via an ADHD assessment for children is pivotal for timely intervention, allowing parents and educators to provide essential support and set the stage for effective treatment.

Read on as we explore ADHD symptoms in children in greater depth, or contact us now for personalised guidance and support.


Distinguishing the Different Types of ADHD

ADHD doesn’t present in the same way for everyone; depending on the individual child, it manifests in various forms, each presenting unique challenges.

Understanding the different types of ADHD is crucial for accurate identification and tailored support.

Inattentive Type

Children with inattentive symptoms often struggle with sustained attention, organisation, and task completion. They may seem forgetful or easily distracted, making it challenging to follow through on assignments or instructions.

Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

Hyperactive impulsive symptoms are characterised by excessive energy, impulsivity, and difficulty staying still, ADHD-HI can disrupt classrooms and social settings. These children may act before thinking, interrupt frequently, and find it hard to wait their turn.

Combined Type

A combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive traits, ADHD-C encompasses a broad range of symptoms. Children with this type may grapple with attention issues, hyperactivity, and impulsivity simultaneously.

Understanding the differences between inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity lays the foundation for targeted interventions and effective support tailored to each child’s unique needs.

ADHD, At Home and At School

Identifying potential signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children involves observing their behaviour across various contexts. At home, parents might notice:

  • Difficulty with Routine Tasks: Children may struggle with routine activities like getting dressed, brushing teeth, or completing chores.
  • Short Attention Span: A child might find it challenging to focus on homework or play for extended periods, frequently shifting from one activity to another.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsive behaviour could manifest as interrupting conversations, acting without considering consequences, or speaking out of turn.

In a school setting, signs may include:

  • Inattentiveness: Difficulty staying focused during lessons, frequent daydreaming, or struggling to follow instructions.
  • Disruptive Behaviour: Restlessness, fidgeting, and difficulty staying seated may affect a child’s ability to engage in classroom activities.
  • Social Challenges: Trouble making and maintaining friendships due to impulsive actions or difficulties with social cues.

Signs To Look For: The ADHD Symptoms In Children Checklist

Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in identifying potential ADHD symptoms in children. Keep the following ADHD symptoms in children checklist handy; if you notice one or more items persistently appearing in your child’s behaviour, it may be time to book an ADHD assessment.

ADHD Symptoms In Children Checklist

1. Inattention

Difficulty Sustaining Attention

Children with ADHD may struggle to focus on tasks or play for extended periods. They might frequently shift attention, making it challenging to complete activities that require prolonged concentration.

Careless Mistakes

Due to their distractibility, children with ADHD may make errors in their schoolwork or daily activities. These mistakes are often the result of overlooking details.


Forgetfulness is a common sign of ADHD. Children may forget to complete chores, bring necessary items to school, or follow through on instructions.

2. Hyperactivity

Fidgeting and Tapping

Restlessness is a hallmark of hyperactivity. Children may fidget, tap their hands or feet, and struggle to stay still in situations where it’s expected.

Remaining Seated

Difficulty remaining seated during activities such as meals, classroom sessions, or while doing homework is a typical sign of hyperactivity.

Excessive Talking

Children with ADHD may talk excessively and have difficulty engaging in quiet, calm activities.

3. Impulsivity

Acting Without Thinking

Impulsive behaviour means acting on immediate desires without considering potential consequences. This can manifest as hasty decision-making or risky activities.


Children may struggle to wait their turn in conversations, games, or other group activities. They might frequently interrupt others, impacting social interactions.

Difficulty Waiting

Waiting for their turn or delaying gratification can be particularly challenging for children with ADHD.

4. Academic Challenges

Assignment and Task Completion

ADHD can affect a child’s ability to complete assignments and tasks. They may struggle with organisation and time management.

Organisation Difficulties

Keeping track of assignments, materials, and deadlines can be challenging. Disorganisation may lead to missed assignments and difficulty following through on responsibilities.

Loss of Items

Forgetfulness and inattention can result in frequently losing necessary items for activities, such as school supplies or personal belongings.

6. Emotional Regulation

Frustration and Overwhelm

Children with ADHD may easily become frustrated or overwhelmed, especially when facing tasks that require sustained effort or attention.

Mood Swings

Frequent mood swings, ranging from irritability to heightened emotional reactions, are common for children with ADHD.

Coping Challenges

Coping with stress or unexpected changes can be particularly difficult. Children may struggle to manage their emotions in response to various situations.

7. Daily Functioning

Routine Challenges

aintaining daily routines can be challenging for children with ADHD. They may face difficulties in establishing and sticking to consistent daily schedules.

Transitioning Issues

Transitioning from one activity to another can be met with resistance or difficulty. Changes in routine may lead to increased stress for the child.

Self-Care Tasks

Challenges with self-care tasks, such as getting ready for school or bedtime routines, may be apparent. These difficulties can have knock-on effects on daily functioning.

Recognising these child ADHD signs early on is crucial for timely intervention and support.

It’s important to note that not every child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder will exhibit all these symptoms, and the severity can vary.

Equally, isolated incidents should not be treated as evidence of ADHD. Several symptoms should be present, in at least two or more settings, before you pursue an ADHD assessment.

If concerns arise, seek guidance from healthcare professionals or ADHD specialists.


ADHD Symptoms: Girls vs Boys

It’s important to note that ADHD can manifest differently in girls and boys, leading to varied symptoms that may be overlooked or misunderstood.

For instance, girls often display internal symptoms of inattention, such as daydreaming and becoming easily distracted. They may appear disorganised and struggle with completing tasks quietly.

Boys, on the other hand, tend to exhibit more external signs, like forgetfulness, careless mistakes in schoolwork, and difficulty following instructions.

Similarly, girls may not always present with overt hyperactivity. Restlessness can manifest as fidgeting, movement in their seats, or difficulty engaging in quiet activities – whereas boys typically demonstrate more noticeable or physical hyperactive behaviours, like excessive talking, constant movement, and difficulty actually remaining seated.


How ADHD Is Diagnosed

Diagnosis involves a comprehensive ADHD assessment for children that considers various aspects of the child’s life, behaviour, and development. While there is no single test that definitively confirms ADHD, healthcare professionals use a multifaceted approach to gather information and diagnose ADHD accurately.

  • Clinical Interviews: Healthcare professionals explore the presence of symptoms, their duration, and their impact on daily functioning.
  • Observations: Observations in different settings, such as home, school, and social environments, help professionals assess behaviour patterns.
  • Behaviour Rating Scales: Rating scales, completed by parents, teachers, or the individuals themselves, offer standardised assessments of ADHD symptoms.
  • ADHD-specific Assessments: Specialised ADHD assessments help evaluate symptom severity and their impact on daily life.
  • Psychological Testing: Cognitive and psychoeducational tests, may be conducted to assess cognitive functioning, academic achievement, and areas of strength or difficulty.
  • Medical Evaluation: A thorough medical examination helps rule out other coexisting conditions or potential causes for the observed symptoms.
  • DSM-5 Criteria: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), outlines specific criteria for diagnosing ADHD (among other mental disorders). Healthcare professionals refer to these criteria to ensure that symptoms align with the established diagnostic guidelines.
  • Collaboration with Educational Professionals: Working with teachers and school staff is crucial. Insights into behaviour and academic performance at school provide a rounded perspective on the child’s functioning.
  • Continuous Monitoring: ADHD diagnosis is an ongoing process that involves monitoring symptoms over time. Regular follow-ups help assess treatment efficacy and make any necessary adjustments to the intervention plan.

Helping Your Child Manage Symptoms of ADHD

Navigating the challenges associated with ADHD symptoms involves a supportive and proactive approach that empowers both children and their families. Rather than viewing ADHD as a hindrance, recognise the unique strengths and potential it brings to each individual.

Encourage open communication with your child, and foster a shared understanding of ADHD within the family. Celebrate achievements, no matter how small, to build a positive association with tasks and responsibilities, and encourage techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, and organisation strategies.

Embrace and celebrate the diversity of neurodivergent individuals, encouraging a positive self-image by emphasising your child’s strengths and unique qualities.

Remember, ADHD is not a barrier to success; it’s a different way of thinking and experiencing the world. With understanding, support, and a strengths-based approach, children with ADHD can navigate life’s challenges and reach their full potential.

Do you think your child may be dealing with undiagnosed ADHD? Book an assessment today.

FAQs: ADHD Symptoms in Children Checklist

At what age does ADHD start to show?

ADHD symptoms often begin to surface in early childhood, typically becoming noticeable around the ages of 3 to 6. However, diagnosis is challenging before the age of 5, as many behaviours are developmentally appropriate. Early signs may include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulty focusing.

How do you know if your child has ADHD?

Identifying ADHD involves observing persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that significantly impact a child’s daily life and mental health. If you notice consistent challenges in academic, social, or behavioural domains, seeking professional evaluation by a healthcare provider or specialist is crucial for an accurate diagnosis.

What does ADHD look like in a 7-year old?

In a 7-year old, this neurodevelopmental disorder may manifest as difficulty sustaining attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ADHD signs can include frequent fidgeting, impulsively interrupting others, and struggling with tasks requiring sustained focus. It’s essential to consider individual differences, as ADHD presents uniquely in each child.

What are the characteristics of a 17-year old with ADHD?

A 17-year old with ADHD might exhibit impulsive behaviour, like blurting out answers in class or frequently interrupting conversations with friends or family. Academic struggles may include difficulty staying in control of their workload, forgetting assignments / important events, or procrastinating, and time management challenges can lead to missed deadlines. Emotional fluctuations and struggles with self-regulation, meanwhile, could manifest in mood swings. Hyperfocus on personal interests might lead to intense periods of immersion, sometimes stalling focus on other responsibilities.

The ADHD Centre

599 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 3QD, UK


ADHD Centre in London
85 Wimpole St., Marylebone London, W1G 9RJ, UK


Postal Address
13304 PO Box 6945 London W1A 6US

The ADHD Centre

Who We Are

We are a team of experienced Consultant Psychiatrists, Psychologists and ADHD Behavioural Coaches.

We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

Important Links

Follow Us

Join Our Facebook Group Community and Subscribe to our Youtube Channel for the Latest Tips, Tools, Strategies and Information to Help You Manage Your ADHD

Find Us On Facebook

Follow Us On Instagram

Subscribe To Our Youtube Channel

Copyright © The ADHD Centre 2024