Is your child prone to frequent aggressive outbursts? Do they tend to act on their impulse without fathoming the consequences of their actions? Are they having a hard time focusing on simple activities, such as reading?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, chances are you already know the challenges of raising a child with attention deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD. The good news is that you’re not alone.
According to the CDC, more than 6.1 million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD. While ADHD can affect various aspects of your child’s life, including academic performance and sleep hygiene, it doesn’t mean they can’t lead a regular life like other kids.
You just have to devise the right strategies to reinforce desired behavior and help your child channel their pent-up energy. Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult a therapist and ask them for a proper treatment plan. They might even prescribe a suitable dose of ADHD medication for your child.
However, medicines and counseling won’t do the trick unless you supplement the treatment with the right parenting techniques at home. From creating structure in your kid’s life to giving them a timeout – there’s a lot you can do to help them cope with ADHD.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a few useful ways to help you manage your child’s ADHD symptoms. Let’s get started.
1. Build a Daily Routine
The key to helping your child lead a constructive life despite ADHD is to create a semblance of structure in their daily life. The first step is to outline a daily routine and allocate specific hours to different activities, such as studying, playing, watching TV, etc.
Knowing what to expect from their day can put your kid’s mind at ease and help them focus better. Also, it’s a good idea to create rituals around important activities, such as eating and sleeping. It could be something as simple as establishing a calming bedtime routine to help them transition to sleep.
2. Break Down Instructions
Children with ADHD can have a hard time following regular instructions, such as “make your bed” or “get ready for school”. Even daily activities, such as organizing their toys, can seem complex and overwhelming. As a parent, it’s up to you to simplify every activity by dividing it into small manageable tasks.
For instance, if you want your kid to clean their room, you can provide them with a series of easy instructions, such as:
- Pick up your toys
- Fold your clothes
- Arrange your books
- Organize your bed
It’s also a good idea to create a color-coded to-do list highlighting important tasks. Alternatively, you can use a calendar or planner to help write down the tasks/chores your child is supposed to complete every day. It can further reinforce a sense of structure, thus allowing your child to feel more grounded and focused.
3. Try a Weighted Blanket
If your kid has ADHD, getting them to fall asleep and stay asleep can be a real struggle. Most children with the disorder experience a wide range of sleep-related issues. Unfortunately, lack of adequate sleep can further exacerbate their symptoms, such as hyperactivity, aggression, and inattention.
An effective way to improve your child’s sleep habits is to use a weighted blanket. Unlike regular blankets, a weighted blanket is filled with glass beads or plastic pellets. The extra weight of the blanket mimics the feeling of being hugged or swaddled when wrapped around your child’s body.
Research indicates that weighted blankets help reduce sleep onset time in kids with ADHD. Also, it controls nighttime awakenings and even helps minimize anxiety and stress. It relaxes their body and mind by providing them with a sense of emotional security. It makes them more attentive and controls restlessness as well.
If you’re contemplating using a weighted blanket, make sure your kid’s blanket is roughly 10% of their body weight. Also, you shouldn’t force your kid to start sleeping with a weighted blanket right away.
Let them try covering their legs with the blanket to decide whether they want to regularly use it. Apart from bedtime, you can also wrap your child with a weighted blanket while they’re studying to improve focus and retention. It even comes in handy when you’ve asked them to take a timeout after a violent outburst.
4. Reward Good Behavior
This is likely the most common ADHD-related parenting tip you’ll find on the internet. Rewarding your child for doing something right is a great way to reinforce positive behavior. But it isn’t as simple as showering them with praise or gifts whenever they exhibit good behavior.
Instead, you should develop a token or points system, wherein your child can collect points by doing certain activities, such as finishing a meal they don’t like, organizing their closet, packing their school bag. They can later trade these points for privileges, such as extra playtime.
5. Keep Them Active
One of the most effective ways of coping with ADHD is to help your kid release excess energy by engaging them in various physical activities. Apart from establishing an exercise routine, you can encourage them to pursue hobbies, such as swimming, dancing, gymnastics, etc.
Also, it’s a good idea to frequently go on hikes and walks with your kid to help them understand the importance of being physically active.
Have you used any other effective parenting techniques to manage your child’s ADHD? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.