While my son has not been officially diagnosed with ADHD we are relatively sure he has some form of it. Having been in the lives of other children with ADHD, researching it, several years of observation, and even not so subtle hints dropped by teachers and other adults led us to believe this is something he is struggling with. He is an awesome kid-the good, the bad, and the ugly. I feel this is something I have struggled with my whole life as well and do now in my adult life. We homeschool and while it is a challenge, it doesn’t overtly disrupt the flow of his life so we have opted not to medicate nor seek a medical diagnosis at this time. This led me to find other alternatives for managing the signs and symptoms in other ways. Here is what I have come to learn….
8 Strategies for Parenting the ADHD Child
Many of these strategies can be helpful for parents of all kinds of kids!
- Take care of yourself- It is really hard to remain patient and tackle tough issues with your child when you yourself are tired, burnt out, and on edge. Find ways to get some self-care time; long hot baths, movie night with mom friends, coffee,etc. Ask grandparents and other family members to step up so you can step out and recharge.
- Food matters- I really truly believe ( and there is a lot of research to back that up) that the food we eat not only alters weight but also mood, personality, and spurs reactions in many people. Highly processed foods contain chemicals, food dyes, and other ingredients that can cause behavior issues. Try changing diet to avoid highly processed foods-white sugar, anything with food dyes, or with more than 5 ingredients and see if you notice a difference.
- Know that medication is not the only answer- If you choose to go the route of prescription medication that is of course fine if it is right for your family. Medication can do wonders to help a child. But If not do your own research and experiment with what works for you and your family as an alternative. Food changes, essential oils, calming techniques, and other strategies work well for manyADHDd families.
- Encourage exercise- My son does not like the outdoors at all, he would rather be in front of the TV, Xbox,or tablet of course. When I don’t make him get outside and play,burning off the extra energy -he will tear through the house and act out. Get them outdoors, visit indoor play places like those that have the inflatable jump pads,etc..
- Be sure they get enough sleep- We all know how hard it is to deal with and overtired child! Be sure to get them into bed in time for them to get plenty of sleep and consider instituting a daily quiet time. Even if they don’t sleep 30-60 minutes of quiet time where they can read, work on puzzles, or other quiet activities can help reset.
- Practice social skills- Role-playing is a great way to reinforce behaviors that you want your child to exhibit. Giving them something to fidget with when they need to be quiet can help as well-in church, in the library, etc… Let them take this item with them whenever you go out and need to keep hands and minds busy.
- Be persistent and consistent– All children really feel safer and calmer with consistent boundaries and guidelines in place- this is especially true for the ADHD child. It helps them know what to expect and where the lines are making the world feel less chaotic.
- Consider a pet- Pets seem to have a calming effect on all of us, especially children. A cat or dog to stroke and snuggle goes a long way in relaxing a child. Even hamsters, guinea pigs, or fish can do the trick.