Parenting an ADHD child can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences in your life. Here are some ideas to assist you.
1)Provide structure and routine. Children with ADHD need help with organization and following through. They do better when rules and expectations are clearly stated. Behaviour charts are a good way to establish clear rules and encourage compliance. Children love to earn rewards, and they will feel proud of themselves for being successful.
2) Catch a kid doing something good. Children with ADHD thrive on positives. Unfortunately, they often experience the opposite. Praise your child efforts as well as the outcomes. This focus is important to build confidence, encourage the child to try new things and set a tone for positive interactions. There are many strategies that are important, but they won’t be effective in the long run if the child does not feel worthwhile, valued and confident.
3) Set situations up for success. ADHD children need to be reminded of the rule/expectation before doing it. This is because they often rush into situations without thinking things through. For example, before a friend comes to visit, remind him or her of what to expect and how to respond. Role play some possible situations that would involve sharing, taking turns, compromising etc. Help your child plan some fun activities and help him get organized.
4) Transitions can be challenging for children with ADHD. To help them be more flexible try the following: Give a 5 minute warning. “in 5 minutes we will be leaving the playground”. Check that your child has heard the expectation and praise his good listening. Ignore any arguments. When it is time to leave, praise again. “you played so nicely today. I know it is hard to leave when you are having so much fun, and because you are listening so well, we will be coming back on Wed. Well done!”
5) Take some time to nurture yourself. Parents of ADHD youngsters sometimes find that they are so busy meeting their children’s needs, that they forget about themselves. It is impossible to nurture others if you are feeling depleted. Make a list of things that replenish you and try to do something each day. Some parents find, taking a walk, reading a book, coffee with a friend, a bubble bath, exercise, cooking etc, are rediscovered moments of joy and help them reset.