Around 6.1 million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, also known as ADD). That means that 9.4% of children between the ages of 2-17 have been faced with the challenges associated with an ADHD diagnosis. So if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you are not alone.
ADHD is a complex disorder that requires treatment from professionals. That being said, there are some strategies that you can implement to make your life (and your child’s life) a little easier.
- Structure: Kids with ADHD thrive with structure. Set a simple, daily schedule and stick to it. This helps your child stay focused and organized throughout the day and limits their distractions. You could even use a whiteboard to detail the daily schedule and refer to it when your child is bored.
- Make lists: List making is a helpful tool for many parents. Write down your child’s daily responsibilities and remind them to look at it throughout the day. After your child completes a task, make sure that they immediately check it off the to-do list. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue checking tasks off.
- Limit their choices: Many children with ADHD struggle with decision making. It can stress your child out to be faced with too many choices all at once. You can help your child by limiting their options when faced with a decision. You could try playing “this or that” and only have them decide between two options so they don’t get too overwhelmed.
- Physical activity: Many children with ADHD can have what feels like never-ending energy. Physical activity and organized sports can help harness that energy in a healthy and productive way. Not to mention that physical activity also improves concentration, increases sleep quality and helps kids build good habits that will follow them into adulthood.
- Stay positive: The best asset that you can provide for your child is a positive attitude (as hard as that may be sometimes). When you remain calm and collected, your child is more likely to come down to your level and connect. Anger and yelling on your part will only result in more negative behaviors from your child.
- Identify your child’s strengths: Many children with ADHD feel inadequate as many areas of their life can feel out of control. Building upon your child’s strengths can give them confidence. Whether they are good at sports or computers or art, make sure that they feel accomplished in their strengths. Because while there are challenges with ADHD, it also brings unique strengths such as abundant creativity, curiosity and independence.
- Take care of yourself: Of course, it is important to make sure that your little ones are eating nutritiously and exercising, but it is also important for you as a parent to prioritize your health. This means getting enough sleep, reducing stress, eating right, exercising, and most importantly, seeking support from family and friends.
Learning how to best support your child for their unique circumstances can be difficult, but you’ve got this! If you have any questions or concerns along the way, a Parent Support Specialist at Help Me Grow Utah would be happy to help! Enroll in our program by clicking here or give us a call at 801-691-5322.