ADHD children have limited attention spans and hyperactivity, this means that they cannot seem to hold their attention to one thing for too long and you may often see your child moving constantly because they simply are unable to stay still. My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six years old. I have talked on the blog about going through the process while also dealing with a newborn. It was definitely a rough spot until we found things that worked for us.
Raising a child with ADHD can be tremendously tiring, there is no right or wrong way to parent your own child, however, there are some strategies that will help to alleviate frustration and hopefully get your child to focus a bit easier.
- Routine, Routine, Routine – this cannot be stressed enough, a child who has ADHD can thrive if they have a consistent routine set in place. Life happens and it’s not always predictable, but if you can make your ADHD child’s life as predictable as possible, you will see much success in the ability to focus.
- Reduce Expectations – your ADHD may not complete all of the tasks you assign to them nor may they finish all of their homework in one sitting. Learn to be okay with what your child is capable of focusing on and encourage them to work to the best of their ability. Allowing your child to break in between each task will result in them being able to handle more.
- Use Discipline – often punishment and discipline are confused, an ADHD child will thrive more from discipline as that includes an explanation as to why the behavior is unacceptable, how they can work to have more control and includes redirection to proper expectations for next time around. Setting attainable tasks and rewarding for each positive response is the best way to seek the results you want from your ADHD child.
- Use Calm Down Time – if your child shows signs of aggression, as is common with ADHD children, learn to use a method called calm down time. Designate a specific spot in your home as a calm down area. Think a small rug or chair where your child must go to stand or sit quietly for 1 minute per age as a means to calm and come back to reality. After calm down time, be sure to discuss why you sent them for calm down time, this helps them to learn self-control.
- Limit Electronic Time – since your child already has a short attention span, electronics will be a huge problem because your ADHD child will thrive on the ever changing electronic screen such as a tablet, TV or computer. Work to have more outside engaging activities for your child to do as a means to reduce their built up natural hyperactivity. When you give your child a way to work off that internal energy, they will have a bit more focus for other areas in life.
We use these methods along with a medication prescribed by his doctor to help him while he is in school. “Brain breaks” his teacher was giving him were just not working. As much as we didn’t want to medicate him and we did take a 6 month break, it was honestly the best decision for his schooling. He does not receive medication while at home or on the weekends.
There really are so many ways you can parent a child with ADHD, but the key points listed in this article will certainly get you started in the right direction. One of the most important factors to take into consideration as you parent your child with ADHD is to understand that your child may only be hearing the first 5 seconds of every sentence you say. If you can develop the ability to listen more, make the first 5 seconds of what you say be the main instruction and have a larger level of patience, then you will be successful in having a happy home with a thriving ADHD child.