Parenting Tips for ADHD
In order to meet the challenges of raising a child with ADHD, you must to be able to master a combination of compassion and consistency. Living in a home that provides both love and structure is the best thing for a child or teenager who is learning to manage ADHD.
Tip 1 : Stay positive and healthy yourself
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Look at the bigger picture. Believe in your child. Take care of yourself. Seek support. Take breaks. Love them by touching them, hugging them, tickling them, wrestling with them (they need lots of physical contact).
Tip 2: Establish structure and stick to it
Be consistent. Children with ADHD are more likely to succeed in completing tasks when the tasks occur in predictable patterns and in predictable places. Your job is to create and sustain structure in your home, so that your child knows what to expect and what they are expected to do.
Follow a routine. Use clocks and timers. Simplify your child’s schedule. Help with school activities. School mornings may be difficult for children with ADHD. Get ready the night before–lay out school clothes and get the book bag ready. Allow enough time for your child to get dressed and eat a good breakfast. Do your best to be neat and organized. Avoid problems by keeping kids with ADHD busy! Avoid internet technology in any form to keep an ADHD kid busy.
Tip 3: Set clear expectations and rules
Children with ADHD need consistent rules that they can understand and follow. Don’t forget praise and positive reinforcement. Don’t nag. Show them what to do. Set up homework routine. Pick a regular place for doing homework. This place should be away from distractions such as other people, television and video games.
Kids with ADHD: Using Rewards and Consequences
- Reward your child with privileges, praise, or activities, rather than with food or toys.
- Change rewards frequently. Kids with ADHD get bored if the reward is always the same.
- Make a chart with points or stars awarded for good behavior, so your child has a visual reminder of his or her successes.
- Immediate rewards work better than the promise of a future reward, but small rewards leading to a big one can also work.
- Always follow through with a reward.
- Consequences should be spelled out in advance and occur immediately after your child has misbehaved.
- Try time-outs and the removal of privileges as consequences for misbehavior.
- Remove your child from situations and environments that trigger inappropriate behavior.
- When your child misbehaves, ask what he or she could have done instead. Then have your child demonstrate it.
- Always follow through with a consequence.
Tip 4: Encourage movement and sleep
Physical activity can help your child with ADHD. Children with ADHD often have energy to burn. The benefits of physical activity are endless: it improves concentration, decreases depression and anxiety, and promotes brain growth. Most importantly for children with attention deficits, however, is the fact that exercise leads to better sleep, which in turn can also reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Find a sport that your child will enjoy and that suits his or her strengths.
Help your child get better rest by trying out one or more of the following strategies:
- Decrease television time and increase your child’s activities and exercise levels during the day.
- Eliminate caffeine from your child’s diet.
- Create a buffer time to lower down the activity level for an hour or so before bedtime. Find quieter activities such as coloring, reading or playing quietly.
- Spend ten minutes cuddling with your child. This will build a sense of love and security as well as provide a time to calm down.
- Use lavender or other aromas in your child’s room. The scent may help to calm your child.
- Use relaxation tapes as background noise for your child when falling asleep. There are many varieties available including nature sounds and calming music. Children with ADHD often find “white noise” to be calming. You can create white noise by putting a radio on static or running an electric fan.
The benefits of “green time” in kids with attention deficit disorder
Research shows that children with ADHD benefit from spending time in nature. Kids experience a greater reduction of symptoms of ADHD when they play in a park full of grass and trees than on a concrete playground
Tip 5: Help your child eat right
Monitoring and modifying what, when, and how much your child eats can help decrease the symptoms of ADHD.
All children benefit from fresh foods, regular meal times, and staying away from junk food. These tenets are especially true for children with ADHD, whose impulsiveness and distractedness can lead to missed meals, disordered eating, and overeating.
Eating regular meals may help your child’s ADHD. Prevent unhealthy eating habits by scheduling regular nutritious meals or snacks for your child no more than three hours apart.
Get rid of the junk foods in your home.
Tip 6: Teach your child how to make friends
Children with ADHD often have difficulty with simple social interactions. They may struggle with reading social cues, talk too much, interrupt frequently, or come off as aggressive or “too intense.”
Helping a child with ADHD improve social skills
- Speak gently but honestly with your child about his or her challenges and how to make changes.
- Role-play various social scenarios with your child. Trade roles often and try to make it fun.
- Be careful to select playmates for your child with similar language and physical skills.
- Invite only one or two friends at a time at first. Watch them closely while they play and have a zero tolerance policy for hitting, pushing and yelling.
- Make time and space for your child to play, and reward good play behaviors often.