The tips and ideas below can significantly increase your success rate when it comes to caring for a child with ADHD.
Make Room for Flexibility
While defining the rules at home, it’s crucial that you consistently discourage destructive behaviours and reward the good ones. However, you don’t have to be too strict with your child. Always bear in mind that children with ADHD may find it harder to adapt to change like other children. One of the traits you need is patience; you have to learn to allow your child to make mistakes while learning. Certain symptom-driven behaviours of your child that are not in any way detrimental to anyone or your child can be accepted as part of your child’s personality. Discouraging your child’s quirky behaviours simply because you feel they are unusual can be harmful to their fragile developing self-esteem.
Learn to Handle Aggression
One of the most common problems that children with ADHD have is aggressive outbursts. One effective way to calm both yourself and your overactive child is by using the “Time-out” approach. In case your child acts out in public, then you need to immediately remove your child in a calm and decisive manner. Your child also needs to understand what “time-out” means.
You should make your child understand that it’s a time to cool off and ponder on the negative behaviours displayed. However, you also have to ignore mildly disruptive behaviours so that they can serve as a way for your child to release some pent-up energy. But all abusive, intentionally disruptive and destructive behaviours that are against the rules you already established should have direct, negative consequences for your child.
Create a routine for your child and make sure you stick to it on a daily basis. You can create rituals around playtime, bedtime, homework and meals. In addition, you can provide an essential structure for your child by creating simple daily tasks that can easily be completed. These can be recorded on a simple activity planner and ticked off when completed, or reviewed and the reasons explored if not completed. If necessary, the task can be rescheduled. No one is perfect!
Consider placing clocks in various locations and have a big one in your child’s bedroom. Also, allow enough time for the things your child needs to do such as getting set in the morning or homework. Make use of a timer for homework as well as transitional times like getting set for bed, and finishing up play.
Make the Tasks Interesting
Interestingly, children with ADHD are likely to be less distracted when doing a complex task. However, when they engage in a task that’s not so challenging, that’s when they often get distracted. Well, the opposite of distractibility is hyperfocus – a situation where children are so focused to the point of not being aware of other things happening in their surroundings. Although hyperfocus can enable a child to complete crucial tasks, it’s often challenging for them as well. For instance, many jobs and hobbies require a high degree of focus. So, if you discover that your child enjoys challenging activities and is capable of focusing while engaging in such tasks, then it’s worth encouraging them to continue. Hyperfocus, when appropriately and constructively employed, can be seen as a strength of ADHD symptomatology.
Generally, physical activities help us to burn excess energy in healthy ways. This makes exercise even more beneficial for your child with ADHD who is full of energy. Also, exercise helps children to focus their attention on specific movements which may in turn lower impulsivity. Another benefit of exercise is that it can help to decrease the risk of depression and anxiety, improves concentration, sleep patterns, and also stimulates the brain healthily. Did you know that many professional athletes have ADHD?
As a parent, you can encourage physical activity by teaching your child to ride a bike, providing active toys like skipping ropes, balls or enrolling your child in a regular team sport. It is easier for children to develop physically active habits if their parents or guardians are encouraging and even role models in this area. Parents can help children with ADHD to expend excess energy and even cultivate healthy habits by taking them on family hikes, outdoor activities.
Breakdown their Tasks
Some tasks can feel quite complex and off-putting for some people with ADHD. You can help them in handling complex tasks by breaking down their tasks into achievable goals. Apart from simplifying the picture, breaking down tasks can also help to regulate the emotions associated with failing and succeeding in a task. For instance, if you ask your child to clean up their room, breaking down the task into smaller ones like putting the toys back into storage, making their bed and several other steps can make the task manageable and not overwhelming.
As much as Possible Explain Instead of Commanding
Caregivers or parents should provide reasons for the requests they are making especially where it’s age-appropriate for their child. As much as you can, learn to keep it simple and be ready to be asked to elaborate. When you explain the reason why you want your child with ADHD to perform a task, it will help to alleviate confusion and worry in your child.
In addition, when you explain why you want your child to perform a task, it’s a sign of respect and helping to build a healthy sense of self-respect is especially important if your child feels different to others. Try to use a clear language and be positive when explaining things to them.
Don’t use Negative Language
You can significantly build your child’s confidence through positive feedback. Sometimes, children with ADHD may feel that they are always doing something wrong or even disliked. When you also reinforce this by using negative language, it can actually be hurtful. This may even aggravate the disruptive behaviours.
Since it’s almost impossible to be positive all the time, parents need to seek an outlet to express their worries and concerns. This might mean talking to a therapist, a partner or friend. Also, there are several online and perhaps local parent support groups where parents with ADHD children discuss and share their challenges with other parents experiencing similar challenges. Parent support groups can provide enormous support, wisdom and perspective for your family situation.
Never Allow ADHD to be in Charge
Although you need to make some allowances, always bear in mind that ADHD isn’t an excuse for poor behaviour. Parents as well as children need boundaries and it’s even vital for your child to learn that there will certainly be consequences for their inappropriate actions. Make sure that these consequences are appropriate and consistent. Parents may unconsciously encourage unruly behaviour in their child when they fail to follow through on consequences.
Parents Should Try to not be Overwhelmed
As much as possible, try not to be overwhelmed. When parents become highly stressed, it affects their wellbeing and, in most cases, it’s less effective in supporting their children with ADHD. You can ask for support when you discover that your workload and obligations are becoming overwhelming. You can get support from friends, local ADHD groups, and even family members. Taking off just one task from your weekly activities can significantly reduce stress.
Make use of Wait Time
Wait time shares some similarities with thinking out loud. By introducing the wait time, you will help your child to cultivate the habit of waiting for a few seconds before acting or speaking anytime they have a thought. This short time will help them consider whether their actions are appropriate or not. Although this will require a lot of practice, just know that it’s worth it and can significantly benefit their social life.
Is your child easily distracted? Well, keeping your home uncluttered is a simple way to reduce distractions. Also, depending on the preferences of your child, you can consider turning down or off the television or removing other electronic devices and toys. Getting your child to work on tasks without the lure of games or TV is crucial; put them away whenever they are performing a task or doing their homework in their bedroom.
Create Structure for your Child
Establish a routine for your child and make sure you stick to it daily. This could be established rituals around bedtime, meals, homework and also playtime. Parents can easily provide essential structure by encouraging simple daily tasks like having their children lay out their clothes for the next day.
Create a quiet and special space for your child to do homework, read and spend some time away from the daily chaos of life. As earlier mentioned, endeavour to declutter your home and make it neat and organized. This helps your child to know where everything is supposed to be and eliminates distractions.
Believe in Your Child
It’s most unlikely that your child doesn’t understand and often feel the level of stress that their condition can cause. So, you need to be positive and encouraging; as much as possible, praise your child’s good behaviour to help them know when they did something right. So, have confidence in your child. Remain very positive about their future and don’t forget that children with ADHD have many positive qualities and strengths that also make them exceptional.
It’s practically impossible to be supportive 100 percent of the time. So, you may become frustrated or overwhelmed with your child and even yourself. Apart from asking for help which we earlier mentioned, you can also consider taking breaks. It’s essential for parents to schedule alone time to release some of the pressure. Go to the gym, go for a walk or taking a relaxing bath.
If you want to hire a babysitter, then make sure you explain all the rules and structures you’ve already put in place to ensure consistency. It’s almost impossible for you to help your impulsive child when you’re even aggravated and children easily mirror the behaviours, they notice around them. So, it’s crucial that parents stay composed and controlled even in cases of an outburst because it will also help their children to do the same. Before responding, take some time to breathe, relax and then collect your thoughts before you try to pacify your child. Always bear in mind that the calmer you are, the calmer your child will become.
Helping your Child to Eat Right
Although diet isn’t a direct cause of attention deficit disorder, the kind of food your child eats can and does affect the mental state of your child. This will in turn affect their behaviour, which explains why parents need to monitor what, when, and how much food their children with ADHD eat since it can significantly decrease the symptoms of ADHD.
Generally, all kids benefit from fresh foods as well as regular mealtimes. They all need to stay away from junk foods and this is very essential for children with ADHD whose distractedness and impulsiveness can cause them to miss meals, overeat and eat in a disorderly manner.
So, parents should:
- Have regular structured mealtimes with fresh ingredients.
- Provide their children with ADHD a daily vitamin as well as a mineral supplement.
- Eliminate junk, fatty and sugary foods as much as possible.
- Improving Social Skills of your Child with ADHD.
Remember, kids with ADHD may find it hard to engage in social interactions; they may talk too much, come off as aggressive or “too intense,” find it hard to read social cues and may interrupt frequently. As a result of this relative emotional immaturity, they may stand out among kids their age and will potentially become targets for unfriendly teasing.
It’s often difficult for kids with ADHD to learn social skills as well as social rules. However, parents can help their children become better listeners who can read people’s faces, body languages and smoothly interact in groups by adopting these tips below:
- You should ensure that the playmates you choose for your child, when possible, are those with similar language and skills.
- Gently and honestly speak to your child regarding their challenges and ways to make positive changes.
- At first, only invite one or two friends at a time. Observe them as they play and put in place a zero-tolerance policy for yelling, pushing and hitting.
- Try to role-play several social scenarios with your kid; try making it fun by trading roles frequently.
- Create time as well as space for your kid to play and always reward your child for good play behaviours like taking turns, kindness and patience.
Get Expert Help
At The ADHD Centre, we offer an Online ADHD Test for you to know or confirm if you or a loved one happens to have ADHD and if you would like some further guidance and support on managing your ADHD then please contact us at The ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide you with an in-depth ADHD assessment to improve your understanding of the disorder and to know what treatment method is fit for you.