It can be hard enough parenting without additional complications such as ADHD. At times it can feel like you are talking a different language to your child, and in some ways you are. Children with ADHD do have functionally different brains to children without ADHD. This means that your child will be processing things differently but with some learning, you can once again tune into your child. Once you have a diagnosis of ADHD, it often has two effects:
- It gives understanding and a name for the difficulties you would have already been experiencing.
- It opens up avenues for understanding and managing things more effectively.
This article is aimed at identifying non-medication strategies for the management of ADHD. Children with ADHD are capable of learning what is acceptable and what is not, their neuro-processing makes impulsive behaviour more likely, however, we can help them to manage this. I hope in reading this you will find something useful that will make things run more smoothly at home for you and your child.
Firstly, the organisation is the key. That means organising yourself (leading by example!) and helping your child to develop routines so they too can be organised. Some easy ways of doing this include helping your child to organise school gear the night before, even organising clothing choices the night before. As well as creating a daily routine which is easy to follow. This may include, a routine for bedtime and a routine for the mornings. Children with ADHD do better with a structured routine.
Break tasks down into manageable sections. Even a simple morning routine can be broken down into smaller components which are going to help a child with ADHD to navigate each task and stay on track. And limit distractions by limiting time on an electronic device and encouraging structured outdoor activities and hobbies. Getting your child involved in sports is likely to bring many benefits. Choose an activity appropriate for your child. Exercise is helpful in burning off excess energy, learning to channel their concentration and preventing depression and anxiety.
Lack of sleep exacerbates ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. Ensure your child develops good routines around bedtime and has adequate time for sleep. Explore dietary influences on sleep and reduce caffeine, sugar and preservative filled foods which are going to impact sleep and mental wellbeing.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how difficult things feel right now. Remain positive. Your child may be struggling a lot at the moment but over time and with support this will gradually become easier and easier. The future is bright, and ADHD need not prevent your child from being happy and successful in the world. Most importantly, be kind to yourself, take breaks and implement your own self-care so that you feel more resilient to the challenges you face as a family.
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