5 Ways to Help Your Child with ADHD
Approximately 6.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, if your child is newly diagnosed with the disorder, you may feel isolated in your struggles. While the challenges of ADHD may feel overwhelming at first, your family does not have to figure this out alone.
In addition to getting help from behavioral health providers, making a few changes at home can help your child manage their ADHD symptoms. By learning about the disorder, establishing a routine, and more, you can give your child the tools they need to thrive.
1. Get Information from Reliable Sources
As research continues to come out about ADHD, the ways that behavioral health care providers help patients has evolved. However, perceptions about ADHD in the general public do not change alongside the research. One significant example of this disconnect is that most people refer to ADD and ADHD as separate disorders. In reality, the condition that used to be called “ADD” is now one of three types of ADHD.
Learning more about ADHD, how it affects people, and what treatments are available will set you up for success. It’s vital to get information about ADHD from reliable sources that use peer-reviewed evidence. A critical source of information is your child’s behavioral health provider. You should feel comfortable asking any questions you have about your child’s condition and care plan.
2. Establish a Routine and Stick to It
Routine and structure help people with ADHD manage their symptoms. The predictability of a reliable routine gives children with ADHD one less thing to think about. Consider making routines for every major section of your child’s day to allow for as much predictability as possible.
You do not need to restructure every second of your child’s day all at once. Instead, try adding one daily activity for mornings, meal times, and bedtime. Once those pieces of the routine become a habit, add something else. Eventually, your family will get into a rhythm that works for everyone.
3. Prioritize Healthy Sleep and Regular Exercise
Healthy exercise and plenty of rest should be part of your child’s routine as they help children with ADHD regulate their emotions and impulses. Because people with ADHD sometimes have much more energy than their peers, enrolling your child in a sport that keeps them active can help. For example, soccer, hockey, and basketball can keep your child in motion for long stretches of time. Other families find success with activities like martial arts and yoga, which teach mindfulness and discipline.
Without enough sleep, anyone can have a hard time concentrating or controlling impulses. This problem is magnified for people with ADHD. Set your child up for success by ensuring they get enough sleep. Setting an early bedtime and establishing a healthy bedtime routine can help your child get the rest they need.
4. Improve Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Both the symptoms of ADHD and the diagnosis can lower a child’s self-esteem. Then, when adults continuously have to redirect the child, it can take a further toll. When you make a conscious effort to reassure your child and boost their confidence, you may notice a change in behavior. A few simple ways to increase your child’s self-esteem include:
- Spending special time with them each day
- Building on their strengths
- Praising everything they do well, even if it seems small
- Teaching your child how to socialize and make friends
- Telling your child how much you love them several times per day
All of these actions can not only strengthen your bond with your child but also help them feel prepared to tackle the challenges they face.
5. Seek Mental Health Care for Yourself
No matter what challenges your child faces, parenting can be difficult. When you’re struggling to help your child with ADHD, your own mental health can take a downturn. Taking time for yourself is vital for your whole family. Not only will you be happier, but you’ll also be able to help your child more when you are mentally healthy.
Support and self-care can take many different forms, from taking time for your favorite hobbies to seeking therapy for yourself. Peer groups, individual therapy, and group therapy can all be instrumental in your care plan. You can talk about your challenges, get ideas on how to cope, and get frustrations off your chest.
If your family is struggling to cope with your child’s ADHD, LifeStance Health wants to help. Our mental health providers can give you and your child the tools you need to thrive. Furthermore, sharing this article may help someone you know to find the assistance they need.