8 Parenting Tips For Raising Children With ADHD
At GUTS OC, Inc., some of the most common questions we get involve how to parent children or young adults with ADHD. Parents often find that despite their greatest efforts, traditional parenting techniques aren’t working and they don’t know what to do.
This is not surprising because children with ADHD have functionally different brains than non-ADHD children. How they process information is fundamentally different; therefore, children with ADHD will need different parenting techniques.
The key is to better understand how ADHD affects children and then adopt parenting approaches that will support desirable behaviors, deter undesirable behaviors and lessen ADHD symptoms.
Here are eight parenting tips we recommend when raising children or young adults with ADHD:
Structure and routine help keep children with ADHD focused. An idle or bored mind can lead to impulsive behaviors, while too much stimulation can lead to hyperactivity and inability to sleep or focus. Routine sets expectations, provides enough stimulation (but not too much!) and allows children with ADHD to focus their energy into productive activities and tasks.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Break large projects into manageable chunks. Complex or large tasks can easily overwhelm children with ADHD. When a task takes longer than a child with ADHD is able to maintain focus, the task will often remain unfinished. Children with ADHD have a habit of jumping from task-to-task without finishing any of them. Breaking tasks (chores, homework, etc.) into smaller, manageable steps will allow the child to feel a sense of accomplishment after completing the task as well as increases the likelihood of the task being complete.
An organized space leads to an organized mind.
Children with ADHD have a tendency to get distracted easily. Having a neat and orderly home reduces distractions. The same goes for calmness and quietness. Quiet spaces within the home allows children with ADHD to take a break and refocus: a quiet space leads to a quiet mind.
Monitor & regulate distractions.
In our modern society, everything from television to video games to social media creates endless distractions. When in moderation, use of these technologies are not harmful; however, prolonged use encourages impulsive behaviors in children with ADHD. So how much screen time should children get?
The short answer: it depends. There are many factors to consider such as severity of ADHD symptoms, age of the child and the type of program/technology the child is consuming (social media vs. video games vs. TV). There is no “cookie cutter” answer, as each child is different; however, encouraging children with ADHD to engage in more productive activities (such as our next suggestion!) is always a good idea.
Break a sweat!
Sports, exercise and time in nature serve as positive and effective outlets for built-up energy. Exercise stimulates the brain in healthy ways by releasing dopamine and serotonin. It improves one’s mood and decreases the likelihood of depression and anxiety. It also improves concentration, a task that children with ADHD struggle with.
Get some Z’s.
Children with ADHD often struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Without adequate sleep, ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity, restlessness and inability to focus, tend to increase in severity. There are a few tips to help your child get more rest:
Have the same bedtime every night.
Limit caffeine and sugar to reduce hyperactivity and overstimulation.
Decrease screen time (TV, cell phone, etc.) before bed.
Establish a calm bedtime ritual that allows for time to wind down.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Set the example for your child on how to react appropriately. If you want your child to be calm and collected, then you have to model this behavior for them. Make sure to hold yourself accountable, set the example and demonstrate through your actions.
Whether through your child’s school resources, local community resources, books or forums, we encourage you to find support. There is a wealth of knowledge available on the Internet that can help guide you. If you feel you may need a little more support, we highly recommend you look for some professional help.
At GUTS OC, Inc., we specialize in working with families with a child or young adult who has ADHD. Our team includes a therapist, brain stimulation specialist, clinical psychologist and a personal chef. We combine the latest technology and mental health services. This wraparound type of service helps our patients get long term results faster.
About GUTS OC:
We combine mental health services and state-of-the-art technology to help our patients obtain long-term results faster. Our specialties include therapy, micro current neurofeedback and life coaching. Our evidence-based approach has helped thousands of individuals, couples and families who have sought our help over the past 22 years. Our trained specialists are committed to educating & empowering our patients with the skills and mindset to live successful, happy lives.
GUTS OC is based in Tustin, CA but provides services to all of Orange County through in-person sessions and/or virtual therapy sessions via phone, chat or video.