Tips for Raising Children Living with ADHD
Do you have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Raising a child with ADHD can be anxiety-inducing, stressful, and exhausting. Children with ADHD may find it challenging to listen, focus, or stay calm. This may lead some parents to feel as if they are caught in a cycle of feeling frustrated, expressing the frustration in the presence of the child, and then feeling guilty for having outwardly expressed their frustration. The following tips can help you and your child reduce some of the stress and anxiety that may accompany day-to-day challenges related to an ADHD diagnosis.
Take care of yourself. In order to help a child with ADHD, take care of yourself first. Eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, and find ways to reduce stress throughout the day.
Stay calm and focused. Show your child how to stay calm and focused by modeling these behaviors. If your child is struggling, watching you manage your own emotions may calm them and help diffuse the situation. Staying calm will also help your child connect with you.
Keep a positive attitude. Make a list of positive and unique things about your child. This will help you remain positive amidst challenges. Be sure to encourage your child in areas where they excel.
Believe in your child. Believe that your child can learn and succeed on a daily basis and show this belief through your words and actions!
Follow a structured routine. Set simple routine habits for your child's sleep, meals, play, and homework. Before going to bed, have your child prepare for the next day by picking out clothes, packing lunch, and having their backpack ready to go.
Use clocks/ timers to help your child manage their time. Children living with ADHD often need more time to complete tasks as compared to children not living with ADHD. Combine that with difficulty focusing and it may seem like tasks never get done. However, clocks and timers are effective tools for helping a child with ADHD manage their time and transition smoothly from one activity to another. Place clocks or timers in your child’s bedroom and in other areas of the house. Using these reminders will help your child manage their time while doing homework, playing, eating meals, and getting ready for bed. It is important to allow your child enough time to finish a task; so, consider this when setting time limits or goals for your child.
Reduce distractions. Provide a quiet place for your child to do homework.
Ask for help. When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from friends, family, or neighbors. You don’t have to do everything alone.
Ask for support from a healthcare professional. Your child’s healthcare provider can help you understand ADHD and give you tools and strategies to help your child.
Taking care of yourself, managing your own emotions, creating a routine for your child, and asking or seeking for help are the best things you can do to help you help your child who is living with ADHD.
Corcoran, J., Schildt, B., Hochbrueckner, R., Abell, J. (2017). Parents of Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Synthesis, Part I. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 34(4), 281-335.
Peasgood, T., Bhardwaj, A., Brazier, J. E., Biggs, K., Coghill, D., Daley, D., & Sonuga-Barke, E. J. (2020). What Is the Health and Well-Being Burden for Parents Living with a Child with ADHD in the United Kingdom? Journal of Attention Disorders, 1087054720925899.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). (n.d.). Parenting a Child with ADHD. Retrieved from https://chadd.org/for-parents/overview/