Parenting your ADHD kid can be emotionally and physically draining. ADHD behavior can be tough to handle at times- especially when you feel your child is never ready to “listen” to you. But remember, suffering from ADHD is as difficult as managing someone with the disorder. The most frustrating thing your kid probably faces is that he “wants” to listen to you, sit quietly or behave as you would like him to- but he just can’t control his spontaneous responses. He needs your compassion, not your admonition.
ADHD parenting tips
Get an early diagnosis
The typical ADHD characteristics- inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness can result in behavior that makes your child a social misfit. He may not submit his homework, not maintain discipline, not be able to develop healthy relationships at school and fail to achieve targets. All this can be highly frustrating. And if there is no intervention at the right time, the disorder can continue into adulthood, making it difficult for your child to live a happy, organized life.
The earlier you detect, diagnose and treat your child, the more his chances of success. So your first duty as a responsible parent is to get your child diagnosed, if you suspect ADHD-like symptoms and then follow an appropriate treatment plan, in collaboration with his doctors, therapist and school.
Build a positive attitude
Always think positively about your child. Appreciate his talents- remember ADHD has no connection with intelligence. In fact, ADHD children are often gifted artistically or intellectually.
Appreciate his smallest achievements and believe in his abilities. Most importantly, don’t stress yourself over every small thing that he does wrongly or doesn’t do- rather focus your attention on the dozens of tiny targets he achieves every day- a page of homework, helping you set the table or drawing a picture.
Follow a regular routine
ADHD children work best with consistent schedules. Set a daily time-table with slots for brushing, meals, homework, play-time, clean-up and rest. Keep his things- books, toys, dress etc. accessible to him, so he can religiously lay out his school dress for the next day, before going to bed, or wind up his toys when he’s done playing.
Respect his need for time
Your child probably needs more time at his homework than the average kid his age- because he has a problem focusing. Don’t fret over it- respect his need for time, and schedule homework time, getting-ready time with some extra time in hand. Use clocks and timers diligently.
Keep him gainfully engaged
Your child is bursting with energy; channelize it in the right directions. While such children usually find it hard to concentrate, it is difficult to break their attention if they find a task particularly interesting and engaging. Find out his passions, likes, interests and keep him gainfully occupied- if he loves singing, organize music lessons or guitar classes. Only bear in mind that you must not overburden him. Physical activity and spending some time in the lap of nature can be particularly beneficial for your child.
Communicate rules simple and straight
ADHD kids find it difficult to follow instructions. Set expectations in simple and uncomplicated terms. Explain to him the rules of the family, table manners and etiquettes expected of him as clearly and simply as possible. Tie them with rewards and consequences.
Reward and reinforcement
Praise your child for every small achievement. Stick to your “rewards and consequences” schedule diligently and reward him immediately for a task well-achieved. It’s important for them to know what happens when rules are obeyed and what happens when they’re broken.
Diet and Rest
Healthy meals at the right time and good sleep are essential for your child. Eating small meals more often is recommended for ADHD children. Shut out distractions in your home environment as far as possible, to help him build focus. Create a nocturnal environment free of noise and activity, when it’s sleep-time for him.
Well, this one’s for you. ADHD parenting can be stressful. That’s why, you must take occasional breaks, find some me-time, relax and unwind. Only when you take care of yourself can you look after your child. If that means occasionally letting your relatives or family manage your child, do it guilt-free.
The above ADHD parenting strategies will help you create a happy home for yourselves.