Practical Ways Parents Can Support A Child With ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a mental disorder that is typically diagnosed in childhood and can last well into adulthood. Symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty sitting still or paying attention. ADHD is hard on families, but it is especially difficult for the child who has to cope with the condition. Simply put, their brains function differently and while medication can help to regulate the disorder in some instances, it’s not a cure-all. Parenting a child with ADHD requires reliance on a tapestry of behavior-modification techniques. Here are ten practical ways to support and foster the development of a child with ADHD.
Chunk tasks to make them more manageable
Tasks that seem simple to us can be overwhelming to a child with ADHD. To make things feel less daunting, break their tasks down into manageable steps. If possible, allow them to take shorts breaks between steps depending on the length of the task.
Keep their living space neat and organized
Children living with ADHD are easily distracted. To cut back on potential environmental distractions, strive to keep your home tidy and free from clutter. This way, your child will know exactly where things should go and they will be able to locate the things that they need with ease.
Stick to a daily and weekly schedule
All children thrive from routines but having a predictable schedule is especially beneficial to children with ADHD. The symptom of ADHD can often manifest as self-control issues, which is why it’s helpful to give them structure with external controls.
Use visual timers
Children with ADHD are not as cognizant of the passage of time in the way that other children are. Equipping them with a visual timer will help to complete homework and chores within a more reasonable timeframe.
Positively frame directions
When dealing with any child, it’s always more fruitful when you give them directions that tell them what to do as opposed to what not to do. This helps to keep interactions on the positive side and less punitive, which is especially important when you’re dealing with a child who requires constant redirection.
Praise positive behaviors often
Children with ADHD are aware of the challenges that they face and they cannot always control their behavior. They are scolded for their behavior often, which can be highly discouraging. To combat this, it’s helpful to acknowledge or praise them when you see them demonstrating positive behaviors — especially if it’s in an area of struggle for them.
Completing tasks such as homework can be immensely challenging for children with ADHD. To minimize the opportunity for distraction, try cutting off TVs, radios, and cell phone ringers during the hours you’ve set aside for homework completion. Some parents go as far as implementing a family quiet hour.
Create a sleep-conducive environment
Some children with ADHD struggle to fall asleep at night. Some strategies to help them grapple with this issue include making their bedrooms completely dark — even if that means covering or unplugging appliances that glow, cutting out post-dinner screentime, bathtime before bed, using earplugs and sleep masks, and implementing relaxation practices such as breathing exercises, meditation or yoga before bed.
Promote the power of the pause
You can help your child to avoid acting on impulse by encouraging them to take a brief pause before responding to comments or questions as well as by teaching them think-aloud techniques.
Encourage physical activity
Studies show that increased physical activity is linked to a decrease in the severity of ADHD symptoms and a boost in the cognitive functioning of children.