ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental diagnosis applied to the greater population. If your child is living with it, they are most definitely not alone. However, without the proper support and guidance, they may very well feel that way.
Fortunately, as their parent, you can make a world of difference in how they see themselves and interact with the world. They can manage ADHD, they can identify their strengths, embrace their differences, and they can thrive. Here are some key ways to support them:
8 Tips to Guide and Nurture Your ADHD Child
1. Be Clear About Your Expectations
Parenting an ADHDer can look different than parenting a neurotypical child. Consistency and clarity are crucial for healthy, productive, enjoyable interactions with your child. Succinctly and patiently explain what will happen when they follow your rules and the consequences for breaking them. Be as age-appropriate as possible and allow them to ask questions for the sake of clarity. Be sure to administer rewards and consequences in a timely fashion to avoid frustration. When introducing your expectations, role-play different situations together. Make it fun, low pressure, while revisiting the topic often.
2. Create Positive, Sustainable Structure at Home
Because organized, methodical thinking is tough for your child, providing systems and direction routinely is essential. How can you do that?
- Establish and follow a daily schedule your child can rely on and refer to often.
- Create neat, organized places for items. Toys, school items, clothing, etc should always be found and put away in the same place.
- Use visual reminders, timers and clocks as points of reference. Routinely use them to rein in their focus throughout the day.
Your child will likely take comfort in a simple reliable schedule. Just take care not to overwhelm them with too much activity.
3. Try to Keep Things Interesting
Children with ADHD know boredom intimately and they don’t like it. Thus, they are always moving, thinking, observing, and questioning. On the whole, this is your child’s superpower. It just needs to be focused in a productive direction.
Therefore, it is worth your while to look for ways to hold their interest. Make mundane activities more interesting for your child. If they remain intrigued, challenged, or drawn into the activity, they’re more likely to focus on executing the associated tasks.
4. Deal with Unhelpful Distractions
Proactively subtracting distractions that routinely lead to frustration is key. Don’t be afraid to limit video games, TV, mobile devices, and such to help your child engage more with people and complete household or school tasks.
5. Break Down Big Tasks
It’s easy for a child with ADHD to feel overwhelmed when they address big tasks or long-term projects. Frustration, anger, or withdrawal may result.
Therefore, try breaking things down into manageable pieces. For example, if you want help washing the car, start by asking them to wet the car with the hose. Then, give them the bucket and sponge to scrub the car. After that, ask them to rinse the car. Finally, give them the towel to dry and buff. Breaking things down keeps them focused and feeling accomplished.
6. Balance Their Activity and Sleep Schedules
Many children with ADHD have energy to burn. It’s vital then, that they get chances to spend it productively and helpfully throughout the day. Playing outdoors benefits children with ADHD immensely, boosting concentration and restorative sleep.
When it comes to sleep, it is important to ensure that they get enough. Often prone to overstimulation and distractibility, they may be prone to sleep disruption as well.
Assist them in creating a good sleep hygiene routine and consistent bedtime schedule. Include a quiet period beforehand without stimulating activities or screen watching. It’s okay to cuddle for 10-15 minutes before the lights are out too.
7. Encourage Healthy Nutrition
Your child’s distracted and impulsive nature may lead to missed meals or overeating without your guidance. Thus, managing your child’s nutrition and dining schedule can help reduce their ADHD symptoms.
As much as possible, ensure that your child eats fresh, wholesome foods. Limit fatty, sugary items. In addition, plan regular meal times to prevent binging or sneaking unhealthy foods elsewhere. Regular, nutritious meals help structure the day and supply the nourishment that helps regulate mood.
8. Liberally Apply Your Praise
As you know, children with ADHD receive lots of corrections in a day. Thus, it’s important to remain on the lookout for good behavior. Acknowledge and praise it often. Lean into positive reinforcement and pick your battles when it comes to negative behaviors.
The goal is to help your child associate certain actions with the pleasurable feeling of praise. As a result, they’ll be more likely to choose those behaviors in the future.
Therapy and ADHD Treatment for Children Makes A Difference
Your child’s participation in treatment can be an invaluable resource for your family. Knowledgeable, qualified care and support are powerful. Let’s take a balanced, thoughtful approach to your child’s ADHD together.