Parenting a child is already challenging but having a child with ADHD can be even more taxing. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. Children with ADHD generally struggle with the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, pay attention, and complete assignments. This means that, as a parent, you need to create a stable environment for your child and be attentive to your child’s problems.
The earlier and more consistently you can address your child’s struggles, the better possibility they have for success. With patience and compassion, you can handle childhood ADHD while appreciating a stable, happy home.
Having a child with ADHD can be difficult and draining but one of the best skills in combating those challenges can be a positive attitude. When you are calm and positive in a difficult situation there is a higher chance for you to be able to connect with your child, allowing them to follow your outlook by example. Keep in mind that most of the issues caused by your child are not intentional and to hold a sense of humor. What could look like a big problem today could be a funny story to share down the road.
Be willing to be flexible, if your child has completed two out of the three tasks for the day be positive. Compromise with your child and look at what they have accomplished already and maybe tackle that task another day. Small steps still count.
Children with ADHD function productively in environments that have structure and predictability. Setting out a clear schedule in your home can allow your child to stay focused and organized. Try establishing set times for meals, homework, chores, play, and rest. Help your child plan out their day by creating tasks like setting out school outfits the night before and having a designated special place for anything your child needs to take to school.
Making good use of clocks and timers can also help set the routine. Show your child the importance of time management by setting timers for homework or even playtime. With the schedule set up, make sure you aren’t overscheduling your child with too many activities. This might overwhelm them, so be mindful of what might be too much. Consider setting up a safe, special space for your child to take a break when they need to reset themselves.
Lack of sleep can result in people being less attentive, this is especially true for children with ADHD. Their need for sleep is crucial, but often due to their attention problems struggle with maintaining a productive sleep schedule. Try being consistent with an early bedtime and use the hour before bedtime as a time to wind down from the stimulation of the day. Find quiet activities with low energy such as coloring or reading. During the day try to burn off your child’s energy with outdoor physical activities.
While diet is not an immediate cause of ADHD, food can have a huge impact on your child’s mental state. Regulating and modifying your child’s diet can help decrease the effects of ADHD. In most cases, children with ADHD are more likely to miss meals, have disordered eating, and overeating. Prioritizing healthy foods and maintaining a schedule of when meals are to be eaten can help combat those negative habits.
Believe in your child, especially on days when it feels like there is no solution. Pause and reassess. Think about everything that is valuable, unique, and positive about your child. Have faith that your child can learn, mature, change, and prosper. Make this a routine habit, to keep the positive things in perspective.
It’s impossible to take care of others if you are not in a good space. Children lead by example, as the parent you set the standard of what is a healthy lifestyle. For that to happen you need to eat right, exercise, and find outlets to relieve stress. Hanging out with friends and family can be a great way to unwind or even have them help watch your child and give you time to decompress. Remember to check in with yourself and make sure your needs are being met.
While the community of friends and family can be very helpful in tackling issues caused by your child with ADHD, asking for help from mental health professionals can be very important. You are not alone, talk to your child’s doctors, therapists, and teachers. Mental health professionals are trained in knowing how to handle ADHD and can help educate you and your child.
Here at Family Psychiatry, we have experience with ADHD and can offer help to those who need it. If you or someone you love, feel like they might need some help please reach out. We are here to help.
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