Guide for Parenting ADHD Children

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Raising a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has numerous challenges. Since ADHD can have different levels of severity and symptoms, there are no tricks or shortcuts that suit everyone.

Nonetheless, person-centered or adaptive approaches are proven to be effective. A child diagnosed with ADHD generally has weak impulse control which leads to compromising situations.

The first step for a parent is to simply accept and understand that ADHD is just a difference in normal brain functions. Here is a cursory guideline for nurturing your child and tackling the different issues associated with their ADHD.

Make it Interesting

Children with ADHD are less likely to be distracted when they are assigned an interesting task. If it is not fun, the child can get their attention diverted easily and frequently.

To circumvent distractions, give your child enjoyable assignments. Tasks that fascinate the little one can make them keep their focus and get them done.

You can make mundane chores fun by making it a game. For instance, if you want your child to make the bed. Tell him/her to pretend that the floor will become lava if the bed is not made in 10 minutes. When a child is focused to a certain extent, they become unaware of their surroundings and finish the task in no time.

This method is known as hyperfocus. Encourage your child to continue doing the activities they find fascinating and make the regular tasks engaging.

Positive Reinforcement

Your kids should be praised whenever they accomplish a task successfully. Praise should also be given to support your little one's good behavior. Most parenting tips for ADHD kids highly recommend positive reinforcement. 

By acknowledging their commendable behavior with praise, you can effectively teach them what's right from wrong. This will also motivate them to keep up the good work.

Regular Exercise

Any child diagnosed with ADHD is generally hyperactive. You can utilize this excess energy through regular exercise. Exercising regularly helps the body release more dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. These chemicals reduce depression and anxiety risks.

Regular exercise also stimulates the brain, boosting concentration and focus. It also improves sleep quality and patterns. Parents and guardians can motivate their kids to do physical activities by enrolling them in swimming lessons or a team sport like soccer.

You can also spend quality time cycling and hiking. Kids are more likely to develop exercising habits when the rest of their family is also involved in physical activities. Set a good example by being healthy and active yourself and your child will surely follow your steps.

Sleep Schedule

Studies show that children with ADHD get significant benefits from a routine sleep schedule. Like most of us, they have negative impacts from poor quality sleep.

Your child needs proper sleep to fend off the excess restlessness and keep their energy levels controlled. Proper sleep also reduces stress and improves mood. As parents and nurturers, it is vital for your child to have proper bedtimes and sound sleep.

Keep the screen time to a minimum. When it is bedtime, electronic devices like phones and tablets should be turned off. Ensure your child goes to the washroom and goes potty. This will minimize any sleep disruptions.

Make sure your kid wears clean and comfortable PJs. In addition, ensure that your child has cleaned their face and brushed their teeth. Not only will these practices improve health, but they also improve the quality of sleep if done habitually.

You also need to ensure that your child is properly hydrated. Dehydration disrupts the sleep cycle and its quality. Make sure your child has the recommended water intake, especially during meal times.

Breakdown Tasks

Simple tasks can be overwhelming and feel too complicated for individuals with ADHD. Complex tasks will likely demotivate the child so make the tasks short and achievable.

If possible, break down the tasks into smaller subtasks. For example, if you want their room to be cleaned, tell them to start putting the toys back into the cupboard. Once that's finished, ask them to make the bed and so on so forth.

Give small intervals or breaks between the tasks so that the child does not feel overwhelmed and disheartened. Give a juice pack or a snack for your child to enjoy during these breaks.

The simplification of the chores can help the young ones to regulate their emotions. Do not forget to praise them when they have completed a task - there's that positive reinforcement again!

Be Calm and Patient

Being a parent is a full-time job. It is not a cakewalk. The responsibilities are more overwhelming when you have a child with ADHD. As a parent or guardian, when you get overstressed and lose your patience, the aftermath is not good for both of you.

Excess stress is immensely draining and has multiple adverse effects on your well-being. Moreover, when you have an outburst directed at your child, it will have a significant negative impact on him/her.

If you feel you have too much on your plate, do not hesitate to ask for help. You can ask a friend or a professional babysitter to take care of your child for a while.

To prevent yourself from burning out, do short breathing exercises and meditation exercises. You can also opt for counselors or support groups of parents raising ADHD kids. Even someone helping run a single errand can make things much easier.

Avoid Negative Language

When your child fails to do a task, do not get frustrated and disappointed with them. When they have done something wrong, take your time and explain to them how it is not right and can be harmful.

Walk them through the correct way and describe how the wrong act has negative impacts. An ADHD kid might feel that the world is against him/her or that they are disliked when they encounter negative language. They also feel like they always mess up everything.

Using negative language directed at your child can be distressing and will surely worsen their turbulent behavior. Your child gets equally frustrated when you vent out your frustrations at them. This can also instill suicidal thoughts and other various disorders like BPD in your child.

When your child has done something wrong, do not react right away. Take time to assess the whole situation. Ask your child to go to their room in a calm yet stern manner. Then after you have evaluated the situation, voice your concerns and worries to your child.

Do not forget to tell them that you love and care about them. Children need constant affirmations for proper development. It is impossible to be positive all the time so you can vent out your frustrations and negative feelings to your spouse or a therapist.

You can also express your concerns and whirlwind of emotions in online support groups or with fellow parents who also have ADHD children. You will not feel alone when you find another person who encountered a similar situation.

Co-occurring Conditions

Kids diagnosed with ADHD are likely to have other conditions too. These simultaneous conditions make coping a bit more challenging. These also make it difficult to understand why the child is behaving so unruly.

You need to consult with the doctor and find out whether there are any co-occurring disorders. If your little one is diagnosed with another condition, you need to know its effects when paired with ADHD. Shedding light on these disorders will help you come up with more effective approaches to tackle your child's ADHD.

Some of the common co-occurring conditions are listed in the following:

  1. Numerous Learning Disorders: A lot of ADHD children also have learning disorders such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.
  2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): Individuals with this condition have weaker control of their emotions. The ones who also have ADHD may frequently lose their temper.
  3. Anxiety Disorder: Children with ADHD have incredibly high chances of developing anxiety disorders.
  4. Conduct Disorder: This disorder usually involves a pattern of being aggressive with others.
  5. Clinical Depression: Unfortunately, kids with ADHD have high risks of developing chronic depression.

The Right Treatment

As a parent, it is crucial to find the right ADHD treatment. The ideal ADHD treatment includes combinations of several therapies. The popular and most effective treatments are highlighted.

Behavioral Therapy

Studies have shown that approximately 50% of the children diagnosed with ADHD also have behavioral issues. One of the most common approaches to dealing with such issues is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is known to be effective in regulating a child's disruptive behavior.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy helps them feel validated and less alone. Talking in therapy can provide your child a safe space where they can freely talk about their feelings and predicaments. This also helps them properly communicate and understand why they feel the way they do.

Social Skills Training

Through this training, you and the therapist can help your child properly develop social skills and cues. It will also help them form healthy relationships and maintain them.

ADHD Medications

Medications for treating ADHD are fairly common and are generally a vital part of the treatment plan. For best results, it is ideal to combine both therapy and medications.

You Got This!

It may seem a mammoth and overwhelming task to raise an ADHD kid. However, it is possible to get the hang of it once you get well acquainted with all the tips and routines. Take a breath and start one at a time. You got this!

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