Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a condition which can cause a child to struggle with social interactions, have trouble with organising or following even simple directions. These kids are also in a state of activity constantly, which can get overwhelming for a parent. You can discuss ADHD with your child’s doctor and create the plan that works best for your child.
The key to handling a child with ADHD is patience and understanding. It can be easy to get upset over the constant temper tantrums, but with some help and tips, you will be able to cater to the needs of your child successfully.
How to Handle A Child with ADHD – 16 Parenting Tips
Here are a few ADHD parenting tips that could be helpful when parenting a child with ADHD.
- Stay calm:
Losing your cool over your child’s temper or anger can only make the situation worse and drag the conflict longer. The best way to go about it is to diffuse the tension with calm words and actions. If your child is protesting against homework, don’t scold him to do it, instead tell him that you understand it isn’t pleasant for him and assure him with a pat on the back or a touch of his shoulder. Do not punish him out of anger or disappointment.
- Be honest about the condition:
Speak to your child about ADHD and help him understand that it is a part of him. Also, try to tell him that he can control it with the right practices. It is important that your child understands that he has a problem which can be managed with his help and your support. This disarms him and engaging him in conversations to discuss solutions to any problem that he may have become easy.
- Help your child discover his strengths:
Since children with ADHD are unfavourably compared with their peers, they may develop low self-esteem and even go into depression. You need to encourage him to find what he loves doing. Children with ADHD are very bright when they are passionate about something. You will need to help him identify it and give him the chance to excel.
- Stop being overprotective:
All children, even ones with ADHD, need to learn to do things independently of their parents. You cannot solve all their problems for them each time. Allow your child to figure out a solution to an issue he is facing. Instead of instructing him about what he should do, ask him what he could do.
- Organise a schedule:
Children with ADHD lack organisational, planning and execution skills. Hence, it is essential that you create a routine and give them a specific time to wake up, eat, play, do homework, etc. You can make a chart or a calendar with the schedule and keep it within your child’s view. For younger children that cannot read, you can use images and drawings to show instructions.
- Set house rules:
Make a chart with the rules and write down the consequences of breaking those rules and place it where your child can see it. It is important that you provide them with a set list of expectations and consequences so that they can anticipate disciplining if they stray.
- Make sure that you are understood:
When you give any directions to your child look at your child and speak clearly and calmly. You can also break the directions into smaller sentences to ensure that they are better understood. If the task is complex, try not to give too many directions and be sure to praise him when he completes each step.
- Be positive:
Your child may have spent the whole day being told what he is doing wrong. So, it is important that you recognise and praise him for any task he completes properly, no matter how little the task.
- Ensure that an adult is with your child at all times:
Children with ADHD tend to be very impulse and hence need proper adult supervision at all times. Do not leave your child unattended at any point. Also, pay attention when your child interacts with his friends or peers. Children with ADHD struggle with social skills and may find it hard to understand social rules. Don’t allow any hitting, yelling or pushing during playtime. You can also reward good behaviour.
- Help him with his school activities:
If you notice that your child moves about at his own pace in the morning while getting ready for school, ensure that you give him enough time to get dressed and eat a healthy breakfast. You can also lay out his clothes on the previous night and keep his school bag ready to speed up things in the morning.
- Encourage participation in sports:
Since kids with ADHD have a lot of energy and find it hard to stay still for long, you should encourage them to take up physical activities where they can expel this energy, streamline their movements and learn some skills. Individual sports or groups sports like basketball that require the player to be in constant motion may be best for your child. You can also sign him up for martial arts or yoga where he can learn mental control and improve his concentration as well.
12. Ensure that he sleeps well:
Lack of sleep can be detrimental can cause attention problems for most of us, but even more so for children with ADHD. Children with ADHD require as much sleep as their peers without the condition; however, due to overstimulation, they may find it hard to get quality sleep. Hence, you will need to establish a strict sleep routine and set an early bedtime. It is also recommended that you limit his screen time and not provide him with any caffeine. You could also use some relaxing music and aromas in his room to help him sleep.
- Don’t judge your child’s character based on his actions:
Children with ADHD usually behave the way they do because they cannot control their actions. It is important that you address the problem without building resentment towards your child or calling him names like lazy, hyper, etc. This can make his self-esteem drop. Instead, you could sit down and discuss the negatives of your child with him, make him understand the problem and ask his suggestion to solve it. The more he is involved in this process, the better the outcome can be.
- Anticipate situations that can be potentially explosive:
The best way to avoid a negative experience is to anticipate any conflicts that may arise. This is especially important if your child is in a social setting. Establish a consistent behavioural intervention if you notice a situation that can turn bad. You may want to politely tell him that you need him to come with him and then discuss the problem with him and arrive at a solution.
- Ensure that your partner and you are on the same page:
When it comes to kids with ADHD, it is essential that while enforcing any behavioural interventions, you and your partner are consistent in your actions. Lack of consistency in the approach to discipline and motivate your child can cause a lot of problems. Your child needs to see you as a united force.
- Seek support:
You don’t have to go through the process of taking care of your child alone. You can always look out for support groups that offer ADHD children help for parents and families. You can see a counsellor who will be able to talk to your child and provide you parenting suggestions in order to diffuse any tension that may arise as a result of the condition.
ADHD is a mental condition and is likely caused by a faulty brain chemistry. It is imperative that you do not blame yourself, the child or anyone else for this condition. This is an essential ADHD advice for parents that can go a long way in managing the condition. If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, it is best if you get all the information you can about the condition so that you know why your child does things a specific way or reacts the way he does.
Handling a child with ADHD can be overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you from taking care of yourself. If you are stressed and tired, calmly handling your child will be difficult. Hence, take time to de-stress whenever possible.
Don’t forget that despite the condition, your child is a wonderful person. He may have his shortcomings, but he will have his strengths as well. Recognise them and celebrate your child.
Also Read: ADHD in Toddlers