If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD by a professional, you may have many questions and a wide variety of people trying to give you advice. You may have noticed that your child struggles with completing routine tasks, taking turns, and is often disorganized, but you’re not sure how to help. Like anything else in parenting, it can be difficult to know what the right thing to do is, but there are definitely some steps you can take to help your child manage their ADHD symptoms.
Create a daily routine for your child to follow each day. Set up procedures surrounding daily tasks like meals, homework, chores, and bedtime. Your goal is to create a sense of structure in your child’s day. Rituals as simple as choosing a healthy snack prior to sitting down to complete homework or laying out clothes for the next day prior to going to bed can help guide your child through their day and create the structure they need.
Break Down Tasks
Along with creating routines, breaking down tasks into manageable pieces can help your child achieve success. Whenever possible, simplify tasks and break them down into achievable goals. Your child will feel less overwhelmed and this can help them to regulate feelings associated with success and failure. Clocks and timers can also be helpful in establishing routines and setting clear expectations for how long a task should take.
It is difficult for children with ADHD to cope with interruptions, so it is important for parents to help limit distractions in their environment. Provide a quiet space where your child can do homework and read. Eliminate distractions such as cell phones, television, computers, and video games and keep the area well organized and stocked with necessary materials like pencils and paper.
Provide an Outlet for Energy
Parents can limit screen time and encourage engaging activities outside the home. Whether your child is involved in a team sport or other physical activity, it will help them when it comes to establishing regular sleep patterns which are also an important factor in managing ADHD symptoms. Regular exercise can go a long way in reducing excess energy that builds throughout the day. Even better, regular physical activity can help your child improve their concentration and ability to focus. Being involved in athletics can help decrease the risk of depression and anxiety as well as numerous physical benefits.
A Good Night’s Sleep
The quality of sleep a child gets can impact the severity of their ADHD symptoms. A good night’s sleep can improve your child’s mood and help lower stress. It is important to help your child establish good sleep hygiene by setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it. Decrease or eliminate stimulants such as caffeine and sugar as well as screen time. A lack of sleep will only worsen your child’s hyperactivity and inability to focus.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to believe in your child. Be kind to yourself and keep a positive outlook. While ADHD presents challenges, these challenges are manageable. Take time to appreciate the obstacles your child overcomes and take pride in their achievements. Remember, you’re not alone in this challenge. Reach out for help when you need it. There are parental support groups and a number of organizations that work with children with the same or similar conditions.
Dr. Edward S. Thalheimer is the President and Founder of The Tutoring Franchise Corp. If you would like further information about how to help children who need educational assistance, please go to www.tutoringcenter.com.