Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a behavioural disorder that includes symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Parenting a child with ADHD effectively can be a stressful and tiring task. But please remember your child does not behave this way on purpose. As parents we need to do the best we can to help our children throughout their day to day life.
Here are some top tips on parenting a child with ADHD effectively!
This is my first tip because I feel it is really important to remain positive and give your children praise wherever possible. A child with ADHD will probably become quite used to negativity, whether it be in school or social environments. As a parent, I would try to focus on your Childs positives. Give praise as often as you can and try to focus on the “well done’s” rather than the “stop that’s”. Be sure to be specific as to what the praise is about so that your child knows exactly what they’ve done right and what has pleased you so that they will remember this for next time.
Ensure that everyone knows what behaviour is expected of them. If taking away screen time is the consequence of overstepping boundaries and misbehaving make sure that your child is aware of this and ensure to be consistent so that they know this is the usual consequence. Always reinforce positive behaviour with immediate praise and rewards and ensure your child knows exactly what they have done to please you.
Routines are very important in helping a person with ADHD cope with everyday life. It is important to set routines and follow them as closely as you can. If routines change to ensure your child is aware of the changes and why and they have time to adapt to the changes. Visual timetables can be a great resource here. If you have a day out that is not part of the normal routine make sure to prepare your child for this in advance and break every part of the day into steps to show them exactly what is going to be happening.
It is very important to give clear instructions when asking your child to do a task. The clearer the instructions the more likely your child is to complete the task properly and give you an opportunity to give them praise. Praise, Praise, Praise (remember why I put Be Positive as the first tip!) Is very important.
An example of giving clear instruction would be rather than saying “Can you get in the bath?” Say something like, Please could you get in the bath and wash your hair and your body.”
It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your Childs warning signs. If you see your child becoming overstimulated or on the verge of a meltdown make a note of what the trigger is and you will start to see a pattern. Once you know the patterns there will be times that you can intervene by removing them from the situation or distracting them until they are feeling calmer.
Social situations can be difficult for people with ADHD. If you are arranging a play date or meeting with friends try to keep the meeting to a short time frame to enable your child to play and interact without over stimulating them. Choose times that are quiet and not when your child may be hungry or tired. Set up social situations so that your child is in their best position to cope with the situation.
Keep a diary of the foods your child eats. If you notice that certain foods make them hyperactive note them down and check the ingredients. It would be worth taking with your GP if you notice any patterns and try to avoid certain foods that cause behavioural problems.
Exercise is very important. Ensure that your child gets lots of physical activity during the day. Tiring themselves out during the day will help improve their sleep at night. It is important to make sure they don’t exercise or doing anything too exciting at night close to bedtime.
Keeping a bedtime routine is really important. Try to ensure that your child goes to bed at the same time each night and wakes at the same time each morning. A pre bedtime routine is also important, such as bath, book and then. To bed. You should avoid overstimulating activities before bedtime such as computers games and watching TV.
Reward Charts can work really well for children with ADHD. Use incentives that will keep your child interested and willing to earn points to get to the reward. Do not make it too difficult to achieve the reward or they will become bored and give up. Small Incentives work well, for example, if your child behaves at the supermarket they can have 30 minutes extra screen time that day. That way the reward is immediate and they associate good behaviour with the reward.
We hope that these top tips on how to parent a child with ADHD effectively have helped. It is important to remember that a child with ADHD cannot help their behaviour and we need to help them through each day by being calm and understanding. It is worth sharing your strategies with school or nursery so that they are being consistent whilst your child is in school. Having everyone on the same page will really help your child to thrive and achieve the things they deserve to achieve.
To find out more about ADHD why not check out our 6 ESSENTIAL ADHD Blogs For Parents, Caregivers & Teachers!
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