How To Help a Child with ADHD
ADHD in Our Children
Smarter Parenting helps parents understand ADHD in children. ADHD should be diagnosed by a mental health professional through extensive observation. Some symptoms are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Understanding a child with ADHD can be difficult at first, but our team is happy to offer ADHD support to help you learn more about ADHD in our children.
Parenting a Child With ADHD
At Smarter Parenting, we strive to treat your child without medication to avoid any possible negative side effects. We do behavior modification therapy and medication, when needed, to help your child understand and work with their ADHD. We suggest creating a schedule and a routine for your child to follow, as well as creating rules and consequences for their actions. When parenting a child with ADHD, a quiet place can also help your child relax.
Our team knows that children and parents benefit from implementing some basic skills to their routine. Smarter Parenting suggests using preventive teaching and correcting behaviors. In preventive teaching, you help your child understand alternative to negative actions by explaining to them, helping them practice, and rewarding them. With correcting behaviors, you model the type of behavior you want.
Learn a Few More Tips
When you help your child with ADHD, make sure that you provide immediate consequences, otherwise, your child won’t be motivated to improve. Tell your child what they should do rather than what they should not do because this helps them to fully understand what is expected of them. Ensure that you’re praising your child for doing well.
We know that understanding children with ADHD can be confusing at first. Smarter Parenting helps you every step of the way to help your child succeed. For more information, you can also visit the National Institute of Mental Health or view this ADHD Fact Sheet. If you have any questions, or need additional ADHD support, then don’t hesitate to call us at +1 (801) 944-2569.
Parents should consider the following when considering a treatment option for their child’s ADHD
- Behavior therapies should be tried first. Medication, because of side effects, should be a final option.
- Follow a routine. Use a timer, clocks, charts and calendars to help you and your child follow the routine.
- Be consistent with schedules, routines, rules and consequences.
- Simplify your child’s schedule if possible but keep them busy. Sometimes over-scheduled children with ADHD become more difficult because of the pressure or being overwhelmed. Evaluate their needs based on their abilities and plan accordingly. You can include lower stress activities or chores to keep them busy.
- Create a quite place. Create a space for your child that is their own where they can go to relax. DO NOT use a time-out space for this.
- Be aware that television, computer and video games may actually increase your child’s symptoms.
- Parent exhaustion is real. It can be physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausting. Take some time to recharge. Take care of yourself. Set aside a time and follow that routine and it can also serve as an example to your child of following a schedule.
Behavior modification therapy and medication
The most common ADHD support treatment usually involves behavior management, psychological counseling and, if necessary, medication. Therapy often includes behavioral techniques like the parenting classes on Smarter Parenting. Using the skill of Preventive Teaching, Correcting Behaviors and Effective Rewards and Consequences will help shape your child’s behaviors. Remember to be consistent. More than a dozen medications can be used in the treatment of ADHD for children ages 6 and up, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications. But there are side effects to consider, including insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss, headache and increased blood pressure. Working with a physician and monitoring the effectiveness of the medication may take some time before the right combination works.
Common misconceptions about ADHD
Medication is NOT the only way to cure ADHD. Medication can be helpful but only as a last result. Side-effects can be far worse than having ADHD. Consult your physician. In reality, learning strategies and incorporating skills is the most helpful way to work through problems that arise through ADHD.
ADHD does NOT make me lazy. ADHD actually makes you the opposite. People with ADHD are often more acutely aware of what needs to be done but they lack the ability to remain on task.
ADHD does NOT make me dumb. The reality is that people with ADHD, as they grow older, find creative ways to adjust and become extremely productive. This ability to adapt and find ways to work through issues is often a complex process and requires a lot of problem solving, trial and error. ADHD just affects the way they do normal functions but most people figure out other ways to do them which makes them highly intelligent.
ADHD will result in me having problems for the rest of my life. It is true there is no cure for ADHD however, learning strategies help reduce the symptoms. Reducing the symptoms helps increase the abilities of the individual to improve and function with less problems.
Customizing Preventive Teaching for ADHD
Use this skill before doing any task or activity. By expressing that they will struggle at certain points and anticipating their feelings you can address what they need to do when those feelings arise.
Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD:
- Be sure to describe what you want your child to do. Avoid saying what your child should NOT do. That is not helpful.
- Be specific in providing an alternative to the negative behavior.
- Initially practice the new behaviors using a time frame that you child can complete. Slowly increase the time frame to help them remain focused.
- Provide a reward to increase the likelihood of repeating the positive behavior.
- You can use a timer to help your child learn to shift focus during the practice. The timer gives them a visual cue of what they are doing and provides them with the ability to recognize that what they are doing will have an end.
Customizing Correcting Behaviors for ADHD
Use this skill when your child loses concentration for the task at hand. Watch the video for the steps and read the parenting tips below on how to implement it with a child with ADHD.
Tips for parents on using this skill for ADHD:
- Practice the behavior multiple times and show them specifically what you want them to do.
- Provide a consequence that is immediate. Children with ADHD are not motivated with consequences that are not immediate. Figure out what consequences would work before you practice.
- If your child is older and is able to complete the practice effectively, change it up and make it a little more difficult. This helps them adjust for differences and keeps things new and fresh.
- If they practice, be sure to praise them and to decrease the consequence. Remember, our focus is to teach, not to punish. By teaching, they will change the behavior long term and that is really the desired goal. If not, the same negative behavior will happen again.
For more tips and ways to implement both of these skills you can visit the specific pages on this site for each of these skills. It has games, activities and printable materials to help you and your child learn this skill in an effective way.
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