How to Help Your Child Cope with ADHD
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By JaVohn Perry
A lot of parents wonder what to do once their child is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, commonly referred to ADHD. This is a very good question because it’s not enough to just know that your child has the disorder. It’s imperative to know what the next steps should be.
Form a support team. To start, one huge way to support your child is putting together a strong team. Your child’s support team should include family members, educators, parents and doctors. Cooperating as a team with the people in your child’s life is the best way to support him or her with the ADHD diagnosis. This means you should be in constant contact with everyone involved in your child’s life. Frequent communication with your child’s educators is always a good idea. Find out as much as you can about your child’s learning environment. It’s also good to ask about your child’s strengths, struggles and areas of improvement. Take opportunities to share the same information with your child’s educator about home progression. This helps to keep things consistent from school to home and keeps everyone in the loop.
Reprioritize at home. Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD may sometimes give you a challenge when it comes to parenting. They often have a hard time following instructions which can get quite frustrating for adults. They are also very active which can make it a bit hard for adults to keep up with them. Another struggle your child may have is focusing their attention for long periods of time. Because of these factors and a few others, children with ADHD have a tendency to need more organized home lives and vivid expectations. These reasons may require you to adjust or alter things at home to support your child.
Offer rewards. One good idea is to praise and reward good behavior. Instead of focusing so much on behavior that is unacceptable, try to acknowledge when you observe good behavior. This can be anything from a pat on the back to buying a new toy. The most important thing is that your child knows that you noticed good behavior and you are rewarding him/her for it. Play off of your child’s desires and interests when it comes to rewards. Some children enjoy sticker charts, while others would like extra privileges. If you choose to implement a reward system, make sure it is based off of things your child is interested in and that is remains consistent.
Exercise attention span. Setting times for specific activities that require your child to be focused and engaged might help with attention span. Choose (or have your child choose) an activity to work on for a certain amount of time. You can set a timer and once the time is up, give your child the option to be finished. This helps your child to practice focusing attention. When introducing this for the first time, you should start with small sessions or a time frame in which you are sure you child can focus. After about a week or so, try adding on a little bit more time and see how it goes.
Maintain routine. Another way to support your child through ADHD is to make things predictable. You can do this by making a daily schedule and posting it for your child to see. Specify certain times for homework, television, going to bed, and chores. Having a predictable schedule makes it easier for your child to transition to the next task or activity. Having a set routine is really important. If there will be any changes, it is a good idea to tell your child ahead of time. A consistent routine may assist your child in having a sense of stability.
Keep in mind that these things aren’t the “fix all” but supporting and helping your child cope with this disorder may get you further in the progressing stages. This also shows your child that you care and will be there to guide them through his or her struggles with ADHD.
JaVohn Perry is a devoted mother of three, Early Childhood Educator, Freelance Writer and Business Owner. As a writer, she holds many titles including Seattle Childhood Education Examiner for Examiner.com. With writing and working with children being her two passions, she makes it her duty to utilize her skills in those areas.