How to Help a Child with ADHD: 6 Tips
Updated January 31, 2020
ADHD in Children
ADHD is neurological disorder that affects millions of children and adults across the world. Many people wonder how they can help a child with ADHD, especially if they have never experienced it themselves.
Create A Schedule
You may be wondering how to help a child with ADHD. One of the easiest things that you can start doing is creating a strict schedule.
Children that have attention deficit disorders have a difficult time managing their own schedules due to their struggles. You can help your child by creating a schedule for them.
This can be as simple as setting alarms on your phone and reminding your child what time it is and what the activity planned is. Some parents also choose to keep their child involved and make it more "fun."
This can be accomplished by creating a fun and interesting graphic chart of the schedule. You can include pictures of a clock so that your child can learn to associate the hands on the clock with the activity for the day.
You can also decorate this with things your child is interested in, such as rainbows and unicorns for a girl or dinosaurs for a girl (or vice-versa - who says boys can't like unicorns?)
Once you have a schedule set for your child, it is essential to remain consistent. In order for this to become a habit, you will have to do the same thing or a very close variation every single day for about a month straight.
When you are first starting out, your child may rebel against the schedule, causing headaches all around. It is important to remember in these moments that the choice to create such a thing is in the best interest of your child in the long term. With time, you will both become accustomed to the new way. Many parents and children agree that once the schedule is set and becomes a habit, the upset actually occurs when deviating from it!
One common symptom of ADHD in children is restlessness and excessive energy.
One way to combat this is through exercise. Many parents are hesitant to incorporate this into their routines because most children are uninterested in going to the gym. This isn't the only form of exercise, though, and for kids, there are even better things you can do.
Considering taking a walk around the block riding bikes, roller skating, or playing tag in the yard with your child. Anything that you can think of that encourages them to move their little bodies will help release some of that excess energy and therefore help your child to deal with their ADHD.
If your child is uninterested in participating in activities with you, consider a team sport. There are several different options, such as baseball, football, or soccer, that will give your child the activity they need without the boring feel of an exercise routine. This can also help them to develop their social skills and to learn how to be a part of a team.
Consider explaining to the coach of the team how to help a child with ADHD. This helps your coach to understand your child's needs and make for a happier experience for everyone.
In addition, what you teach them now will be the skills they bring into their adult life. You want to be sure that you are implementing healthy strategies that not only help them with their mental load but are also enriching to their physical health!
Limit Electronics Time
It can be easy as a parent that struggles with a moderately needing child to allow them to zone out and relax while watching TV or doing activities on laptops or tablets. You may consider how to help a child with ADHD to manage their time on electronics.
Especially since we are in the digital age, it has become a common occurrence to allow our children to spend a lot of time on electronics.
While it may seem that these methods allow your child to relax and stay quiet for extended periods of time, it is actually not helping as much as you might think it does.
Many children who struggle with ADHD can get overstimulated by the activities on digital devices. This means that even though they are quiet and content while the screen is on when it is time to go quiet and dark, there can be a whole nest of negative emotions that will burst out of them.
This isn't to say that your child can never enjoy time with their electronics, just that you should pay close attention to just how much time you are allowing out of the day to use them. Consider using electronics time as a reward for a certain amount of time of physical activity.
For example, you can require 20-30 minutes of outside play or other physical action in exchange for the same amount of time on the electronics. This will be sure that your child is burning off energy before being sedentary, and will also give them a great incentive to get active.
On another note, since many children with ADHD report troubles getting to sleep, electronic time should be banned entirely 1-2 hours before bedtime. A child's brain needs time to power down and get ready for the night's sleep.
If you allow your child to use the electronics closer to bedtime, it can stimulate them even further, causing more significant issues getting and staying asleep, which can trickle into all sorts of other problems in their little lives.
Keep Communication Open At School
By the time your child is old enough to start going to school, it is likely that you have become an expert in managing their ADHD. His teacher, though, may need some help learning how to help a child with ADHD.
In school, teaching students with ADHD requires an ample amount of patience. In addition, every child is different. What your teacher may know about helping another student with similar struggles may offer no help at all to your child.
This is why it is essential always to keep a line of communication open with your teacher. You will have to work together to create a new schedule for your child within the classroom since the activities you plan together at home don't always transfer over to a school setting.
While you and your child are both becoming accustomed to the new schedule shift from all day at home to a majority of the day at school, it can be challenging to manage. You may notice your child struggling to get back into the swing of things either while at school or while at home, and this is entirely normal!
Remind your child that school is an important part of life and will help him or her on their journey to adulthood. Acknowledge their frustrations and setbacks on the new schedule and help them to brainstorm ways to get around roadblocks with the schedule at school.
You should also encourage your child to speak with their teacher if they ever have a problem or need some extra help. After all, you can't and won't be around every minute your child needs help, so teaching him some responsibility and independence even at a young age prepares them for adulthood!
Get The Whole Family Involved
The age-old adage "It takes a village to raise a child" couldn't ring truer when it comes to learning how to help your child with ADHD.
It is of the utmost importance that the people closest to you know what you are doing to assist your child so that you can be sure their lives are remaining as consistent as possible.
If you are considering allowing your child to sleep over a family member's house, be sure to send a detailed list of the schedule with them. It doesn't take very long to undo a hard-fought schedule, and it would really be a shame to have to go through the whole thing all over again!
Additionally, don't be afraid to reach out to a loved one if you are feeling overwhelmed and just need an ear or some advice. There is no shame in feeling exhausted or underprepared; parenting doesn't come with a handbook, and even the most ferociously dedicated parents struggle with helping their ADHD affected children.
Get Help From A Professional
If your child is having a difficult time adjusting to your new schedule or you feel they would be better served by a professional, consider reaching out to a licensed professional.
There are many medications that are safe and proven effective for ADHD that will help you and your child tremendously. A therapist can also help you to enrich certain aspects of your schedule.
A therapist who specializes in attention deficit disorders can have invaluable outlook regarding how to help a child with ADHD. They also know the right questions to ask to see just what will work for your child the best.
With some luck, you will find someone that your child can learn to trust and care for like a close friend. It is certainly never a bad thing to have someone in your corner that understands and wants to help. Your child will be set up for a lifetime of happy and healthy with the right care!
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