Keeping Up With Kids With ADHD
Raising a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD can be at times challenging and frustrating. However, as a parent, you can create a tranquil environment for your children and teach them to channel their energy into positive arenas. The first step in helping or guiding your children with ADHD is first accepting their brains functionally differently from that of other children. They can still discern what’s acceptable and what’s not, however, their disorder makes them prone to impulsive behaviour. As a parent, you have to learn to manage your child’s frustrations and respond in positive, supportive ways. With patience, compassion, plenty of support and the following tips, you can create a stable home and limit destructive behaviour.
Be fit and have faith.
In order to care for your child, you first need to be physically and mentally fit as they feed off of your state. You can determine the factors that positively influence the symptoms of your child’s disorder. So, when you are calm and composed, the line of connection is open, allowing you to guide them to being calm and focused. Another tip in parenting kids with ADHD is having faith in them — that they can learn, change, mature, and succeed. Create a list if it helps and make this your daily affirmation.
Create and organise a home schedule.
Children with ADHD respond well to routine so your task is to create a schedule at home like setting up specific times for waking up, eating, playing, homework, chores and bedtime. Print this schedule out or write it on a whiteboard where it’s visible to your kid. Be creative and use drawings or symbols for each activity if your child has yet to learn reading. Should there be any changes to the routine, be sure to sit them down and explain it ahead of time and ensure that they understand.
Create house rules.
Similar to organising a schedule, you can also set up house rules which are clear and concise. Part of this process is sharing the result of abiding by the rules and breaking them. Write the rules together with the results and hang it next to the schedule. The punishment for breaking the rules should be fair, quick and consistent.
While most children are easily distracted, children with ADHD are especially susceptible to the slightest distractions. Stimulating electronics such as television, video games and computers can encourage impulsive behaviour so access to these should be regulated. Expose your kids to outdoor activities which decreases time with electronics and provide an outlet for built-up energy.
Encourage sports and sleep.
Children with ADHD often have pent up energy. Encouraging sports and physical activities allows them to release that energy healthily. Needless to say, the benefits of physical activity are endless, from improving concentration, decreasing depression and anxiety to promoting brain development. A day of sports and physical activity leads to better sleep, which reduces the symptoms of this disorder. Choose a sport according to their strengths, be it individual or team sports like basketball or hockey that require constant motion. You can also consider martial arts such as tae kwon do or even yoga, which involves control as they go through the motions. At bedtime, diffuse lavender or other calming essential oils in your child’s room to create a tranquil ambience.
Being impulsive and lacking self control are some of the attributes of ADHD. They sometimes speak and act before thinking. A helpful method of tending to this is encouraging your child to verbalise their thoughts and reasoning when they feel the urge building. Another salient point is understanding how your child thinks in order to help him or her curb their impulses.
Teach thoughtful responses
You can find that breaking or controlling your child’s immediate impulse to speak is to teach them to pause before retorting. Encourage more thoughtful responses engaging in interactive questions about your child’s favourite cartoon or book and helping with their homework.
Again, children with ADHD are accepting of structure, so do only what you say you are going to do. Repeating directions and requests doesn’t bode well. When you find them breaking the rules, warn him or her only once using a calm tone. If the warning did not take effect, follow through with the punishment that you promised. The consequence shouldn’t be physical or it would make matters worse. Instead, try time-outs and removal of privileges for their punishment.