ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is a common behavioral disorder mostly seen in children but might persist until adulthood. Though not a learning disability, about 50% of kids with this condition have difficulties with their social and learning skills. Characterized by hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention, children with ADHD face problems in their emotional, academic and social arenas.
How to parent a child with ADHD
Parenting kids with ADHD is indeed a challenging task as a lot of time goes into comprehending their unusual behavior resulting from the different mechanisms of their brain, as shown through studies. Here are useful tips for parents to follow while dealing with their children.
- Chalk out his daily routine on a chart paper and place it in his study. Stick a smiley after every completed task to boost his morale.
- Keep all his belongings in a fixed place, so he has fewer chances of losing them.
Make learning fun
- Divide his homework into smaller parts with coloring and puzzle-solving sessions to avoid monotony.
- Make story time a ritual where your child can interact with you and pour his heart about everything running through his mind.
- Help your child understand the difference between good and bad behavior by praising him for his positive actions and disapproving of the unacceptable traits.
- For improper or aggressive behavior, do not shout or beat the child. Rather, make him realize his mistake by trying the time-out method where he is confined in a limited space, unable to communicate with anyone or engage in any activity. The span for this activity is 2 to 5 minutes for 2 to 5-year-olds, 5 minutes for 6 to 8-year-olds, 10 minutes for 8 to 10-year-olds, and 10 to 20 minutes for 10 to 14-year-olds.
Limit distractions that make him inattentive
- Electronic gadgets like television, video games, and computers should be restricted as they often lead to inattention and destructive behavior.
Regulate sleep pattern
- Besides fixing a proper sleep pattern, remove caffeine and sugar from their diet as they tend to come in the way of a sound sleep.
- Create a white noise at bedtime by putting the radio on static mode or turning on the fan.
- Reduce his activity levels one hour before bedtime, limiting things that may relax his mind, like reading or coloring.
- Massage your child with essential oils like lavender or sandalwood, or add them to a diffuser to spread the aroma in his room to help him remain calm.
Focus on social skills
- Work on his social skills to overcome his difficulty in interacting with peers. Consider bringing his friends home (one or two at a time) and observe them interact. Intervene right away if you find them behaving roughly.
- Because of his inability to express himself well, he may lose out on friends. Enroll him in any activity class he is interested in so that he may gradually learn to function in a group.
- If your child is always teased and bullied in school, look into the matter immediately. Know what is going on in his mind and suggest alternate ways to handle such things in the future. You can also role-play the situation to explain what you would have done if you were in his place.
Provide sufficient playtime
- Take your child to parks or playgrounds having a lot of greenery, as research says that spending quality time in the lap of nature is beneficial for kids with ADHD.
- Introduce interactive toys or games that would foster cognitive and motor development.
ADHD interventions for parents
Besides training and guiding your child, there are a few other parenting strategies that you should keep in mind to succeed in your endeavor.
Don’t forget to show your love
- Never rebuke him for his weakness. Rather, make him feel you are there for him always.
- Shower him with hugs and cuddles whenever he is at his best and during bedtime.
Be positive while handling your child
- Though you may often hear about his slow development in school, do not lose hope or get demotivated. Keep believing in him.
- Instead of keeping big hopes, rejoice in every small goal he achieves.
- Understand your child well and try channelizing his areas of strength in a productive way.
- Do not be over-dependent on medicines. For example, if your son displays hyperactive behavior, correct him instantly instead of asking if he has taken his medicines or not.
Set your goals
- Be consistent with the dos and don’ts you set. If you are scolding him for throwing a tantrum at one time, do not let him go the next time. Your confused behavior would negatively impact him.
- While training your child to do something, do not leave it midway if you fail to achieve it. Keep trying till you get positive results.
- Interact with his teachers regularly to keep track of his development. They should also be informed about anything new happening in your family that may affect your kid’s behavior.
- Keep a record of his reports, copies, and notes.
Take a time out
- To de-stress, take some time out for yourself once in a while and engage in anything that relaxes your mind.
Seek professional advice
- Join an online ADHD forum or support group like WebMD ADHD Online Community or CHADD Forum for a more comprehensive parental guide.
- Attend parenting classes and seminars or even hold discussions with other parents to widen your outlook on coping with your child.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.