ADHD: How Can I Help My Child?
How do I help my child with ADHD?
Your heart leaps as you see your child running into the playground. But your child doesn’t just run, he erupts. While other children are calmly ascending the stairs to the slide, your child barrels up the slide, smacking the plastic with loud thudding of his shoes. Other children giggle and exclaim, and your child screeches at a volume that causes everyone on the playground to glance suspiciously your way as he bellows out “look, Mommy!” Other children cautiously reach for the monkey bars, and your child runs across the top like a crazed monkey as you fumble to catch his fall. He sees a squirrel, and runs over a smaller child, leaving him crying in the wood chips as you apologize profusely and command him to come back and make amends. But he has already forgotten about the squirrel and is heading up the slide again. You nervously rattle off excuses for his disruptive behavior as Moms around you silently judge you. Face burning, you count the tortuous moments of humiliation. Finally, you can’t take it anymore, and you round up the wild one and head for the car, kicking and screaming all the way. Your heart beats hard against your chest, and a lump forms in your throat as you think the unthinkable: is there something wrong with my child?
This behavior explosion is not uncommon, but it is alarming if you are the parent of an ADHD child. Accepting the truth about your child is difficult, but the sooner you can identify their needs, the sooner you can begin meeting them. Do not be discouraged; some of the world’s most successful people have been diagnosed with ADHD. Walt Disney, Michael Phelps, and even Bill Gates have ADHD, and they are geniuses who learned to use their fast and furious brains in constructive ways! Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is not a weakness, in fact, children with this diagnosis are usually more intellectually superior than their peers.Rather, it is their inability to focus on the mundane. ADHD children can hyper focus on the things they find interesting, but their brain has difficulty slower down to the more mundane things of life. In short, their brains are moving at such a rapid pace that they have difficulty “slowing down” for the rest of us! Individuals with this gifting become brilliant creators, problem solvers, and dynamic leaders. However, if your child is still in Kindergarten, the mission is helping them navigate their larger-than-life abilities and succeeding in a world that is painfully boring to them. Your child’s pediatrician may have some helpful resources from a medical perspective, but you may be asking yourself as a parent, how can I help my ADHD child succeed? Here are four proven strategies for ADHD children and parents to implement at home as a formula for success:
Eliminate Foods with Red Dye. Studies have shown that red dye dramatically impacts the behavior of some ADHD children. Sugar and white flour also have an effect on the brain that can cause hyperactivity. It may be difficult to navigate at first, but if you take the time to do the research on foods that contain red dye, you may see an improvement in your child’s behaviour over time.
Maintain a Structured Routine. Children with ADHD move so quickly that they struggle with the brain space for the here and now. They are constantly living in the next step. On a bike ride, they will be way ahead of the group, the rest of the party peddling furiously behind and shouting at them to wait! The more structure you can provide for your child, the more they will succeed. Helping their brain get into healthy patterns such as dinnertime and reading time is extremely helpful for their psyche. Bedtime routines are vital for helping the ADHD brain “wind down” for a good night’s sleep. Reducing screen time and more physical activity helps their body expend the pent-up energy they struggle to suppress. Rather than suppressing them and forcing them to be still, help them get the aggression and excitement out of their system by creating fun games they can play with you at home. For example, excite them to run upstairs and grab a sock from the sock drawer, bring it downstairs, and put it on. Pump up the action by saying “ready, set, GO” and timing them, calling out the numbers loudly as they run. Then, do it for the sock on the other foot! You can involve siblings in this to make it fun for everyone. This sense of inclusion and excitement is what their little brains crave, and when their needs are met, they are better equipped to handle their classroom demands.
Use Positive Reinforcement and Natural Consequences. Unfortunately, your child will experience a series of natural consequences from frustrated teachers, classmates, and playmates. If you provide loving support, they will always have a safe haven to come home to where they can recharge from the difficulties of their world. When a child has a loving support system, they can bounce back from a surprising amount of trauma. Keep in mind that your child is constantly experiencing rejection from other children and disapproval from authority in their school and social circle. They will quickly learn by trial and error that their behavior is irritating and unacceptable to those around them. As a parent, your job is to reward good behavior. Find out what motivates your child, and use it to help them perform. For example, if your child loves animals, let them know if they are good for their teacher they will get to go to the zoo. Be liberal with your rewards as you keep in mind that every moment of compliance is an inwardstruggle for your little one. Fight the urge to “give up,” because only you can help your child navigate the world. Unfortunately, you cannot change the world your child lives in, but you can give them a light at the end of the tunnel when you find the appropriate reward system!
Fill your child’s diet with good nutrition that supports focus in the brain. If your brain feels bombarded with an overload of nutrition advice, you are not alone! Websites and products promising to help your child with ADHD are a dime a dozen, so finding the right nutrition for your ADHD child can be a challenge. It can be overwhelming to chop fruits and veggies into moon and star shapes every day, and your child’s regimen has to be sustainable for the entire family. Supplements can be difficult to swallow in pill form, and many gummy vitamins come loaded with sugar, which counter-acts the calming effect. Many ADHD Moms have found that wholeceauticals are the easiest and most effective way to get your child the nutrition he needs. Pop a nutrition bar with focus-oriented ingredients into your child’s back pack, and he has all tools he needs for a successful day.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and the fact that you are reading this article right now means that you are a parent who cares for their child and wants to give him the very best. You have been entrusted with a very special child, and you may just have a little Albert Einstein in the making!