Having a child or children with ADHD is difficult for both the parents and the child. Yet there are strategies that can help both in a world where things are more challenging for them than other families.
I’ve pulled together some behavioral strategies from the esteemed Mayo Clinic as well as from Dr. Temple Grandin who has autism and speaks about autism and ADHD.
These experts’ methods are in keeping with the methods we employ at Serenity Wellness & Counseling.
Dr. Grandin’s methods for coping with autism and ADHD include sensory experiences and stretching out of one’s comfort zone. I favor her down-to-earth practical suggestions when included with behavioral therapy.
Children with ADHD are often teased for the way they behave, and as a result may struggle with low self-esteem, school anxiety and more. And while the symptoms which may include difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior may lessen with age, some people never completely outgrow ADHD symptoms. With guidance and patience though, children can learn behavioral strategies that will help them be successful. Parents are integral in helping their child learn strategies to help them. Together parent and child will grow in understanding the best ways to handle their uniquely individual symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following for managing ADHD in children:
1. Give praise and rewards when rules are followed.
Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism more so than other children. This can really impact self-esteem. Some days, you might have to really look for the good behavior, but you should praise good behavior at least five times more often than you criticize bad behavior.
2. Give clear, effective directions or commands.
Make eye contact or gently touch on arm or shoulder to get his or her attention. Give brief, simple steps and short commands that get to the point rather than multiple directions or wordy statements and questions.
3. Establish healthy habits.
If your child is on a medication, it should be taken as prescribed. Contact your child’s health care provider if problems arise. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep, eating a well-balanced diet consisting of three meals, a snack and adequate fluids daily, and has an outlet for some form of daily exercise. These healthy habits will help your child to feel his or her best and help minimize ADHD symptoms.
4. Develop routines around homework and chores.
Work together to make a checklist of what needs to be done surrounding daily chores, getting ready for bed and school for your child to refer to when he or she gets off task. Encourage your child to use a daily planner so he or she is aware of all homework assignments. Have an established time and location for homework and use a timer to remind your child to show you how the homework is going two to four times per hour. Factor in brain breaks if your child needs them and movement between tasks or use of an appropriate fidget.
5. Help your child build relationships, strong social skills and maintain friendships.
Be a good role model of behavior you want your child to use. Factor in some special time three to five days a week with your child that is conflict-free and does not involve a screen to help maintain a strong parent-child relationship. Help your child develop at least one close friendship. With younger children, parents may need to take the lead to arrange and host play dates or get kids involved in activities where there are kids the same age.
Tips From Dr. Temple Grandin For Helping A Child Cope With ADHD
Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the most famous people who is and has been on the autism spectrum her entire life considers those with autism and ADHD as merely people who think and learn differently. It’s true that the brains of those with ADHD are wired a little differently. She recommends a variety of hand-on experiences including playing with blocks, petting animals, sewing or anything that requires physical movement. Here at Serenity Wellness & Counseling we employ art, music, and movement therapy. Grandin suggests that hobbies and activities requiring physical movement enhances a child’s creativity and problem-solving abilities while making them more resourceful. These are things that parents can encourage their ADHD child to explore. According to Grandin, “even doodling and twiddling thumbs can be beneficial.” Dr. Grandin also acknowledges that walking a dog helps a child expend energy while cuddling with the animal can help the child alleviate anxiety. She also suggests that activities that require planning, such as feeding a pet may boost time management skills.
Dr. Grandin is in favor of taking all kids outside, not just those with ADHD, and exposing them to practical, real things such as gardening, feeding animals on a farm and observing animal behavior, looking at everything from plant buds to constellations. You can find out more about Dr. Temple Grandin and her methods for helping those whose minds work differently at the link at the end of this article.
Our Expert Care and Therapy Have Helped Many Families Cope And Children Successfully Cope With ADHD
Here at Serenity Wellness & Counseling, we are proponents of hands-on practical experiences for children diagnosed with ADHD along with Behavioral Therapy. If you would like to discuss how we can help your child, feel free to call me at 281-944-SWCC for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I look forward to working with you.
Resource for more information about Dr. Temple Grandin: https://www.cta.org/educator/posts/beautiful-minds