Having a child with ADHD can be challenging at times. You don’t want them walking around like zombies on medication, but they often require some form of treatment to succeed in everyday life. Fortunately, there are other alternatives. Let’s look at how you can help your child with ADHD thrive.
If you do decide to put your child on medication to treat their ADHD, you must make sure it’s taken as directed. Speak to your doctor about all alternatives available to you, including social skills groups and therapy as well.
You must be consistent with any treatment programs that you take on. One social skills group meeting might not yield positive results. Going every week, on the hand, could.
It's also crucial that your parenting is as consistent as possible. Children with this disorder do best in a structured environment. They thrive on routine. This doesn't mean that they should never have free time. It does mean that this free time should be part of a routine.
A common mistake that parents make is to try and force their child to sit down and concentrate. Working with your child will produce better results. So, if they're doing homework and can only focus for five minutes at a time, that's fine.
Let them work for five minutes, and then let them take a break for five minutes. During their five-minute work time, they need to do as much as possible. During their break, let them decide what to do.
It might seem like a protracted way to do homework, but it’s more effective. Your child will be a lot more productive in those five minutes. It will help them focus more efficiently and make the prospect of sitting down to work less challenging.
Consider adding some play time before making them sit down to finish a big task. This step helps them to work off some of their nervous energy, so they’re better able to focus.
It’s also worth noting that kids with this disorder are bundles of energy—let them fidget so that they can burn off more of that.
Shaping is a behavioral modification therapy that you might find useful. With this, you use positive reinforcement to encourage improvements. It’s important to take small steps here.
You could offer a reward if they stick with their homework for six minutes instead of five. Over time, you can work up to longer periods. It’s important that you only use positive reinforcement.
That way, your child learns that they get rewarded for even small improvements. It encourages them to improve even more.
The rewards should be something valuable to your child. It could be a hug, a little bit of money, or letting them have fun later. Ideally, you should let them choose. Be consistent, and they’ll learn that the benefits for correct behaviors are worthwhile for them.
Several relaxation techniques can come in handy here. You can teach your child the following:
There are a lot of ways that you can help your child to thrive. If you understand ADHD better, you can find ways that work for you and your child. You know your child better than any doctor does. Work with solutions that produce positive results in your family.