ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a fairly common disorder that affects as many as 5% of all children. Typically the disorder is marked by an inability to sustain focus, pay attention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. As the caregiver of a child with ADHD, it can be challenging to stay positive. By establishing routines and expectations, redefining normal, and remembering to care for yourself you can create a nurturing and positive environment for your ADHD child.
Make a Routine and Stick to It
The ADHD brain is kind of like a computer without enough RAM; if you try to open too many windows, it freezes. A similar thing happens with ADHD kids — their brains get overloaded and it’s difficult to focus on routine tasks, especially when the task isn’t stimulating. Creating a daily routine for your child to follow allows them to go on “auto-pilot” and minimizes anxiety about forgetting to do something.
Set Clear Expectations – But Be Flexible
One particularly exasperating aspect of ADHD for caregivers is impulsivity. Children with ADHD often have poor executive functioning capabilities which means that, even though they know doing a certain thing is bad, they’ll go ahead and do it anyway because they want to. Setting clear expectations for your child will help them establish a “mental routine” that will help learn how to self-regulate. Using tools like time out to give them time to cool down can be an effective strategy for using discipline as a teachable moment.
Focus on the Positive
ADHD kids can be especially hard on themselves. They are constantly being told what they are doing wrong. They’re also surrounded by people who don’t seem to struggle as much. This can leave ADHD kids with poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other issues.
As caregivers, it’s important to help your child focus on his or her wonderful attributes and let them know that you love them unconditionally. Find ADHD role models for your child to look up to, like Simone Biles or Bill Gates. It’s also helpful to frame conversations with your child around positive phrases such as:
One of the things caregivers quickly discover about ADHD is that there is nothing “normal” about it. Kids with ADHD are incredibly smart, adaptive, and creative; they have to be in order to navigate a world that isn’t designed to meet their needs. What is easy for a neuro-typical child may be a Sisyphean task for your ADHD child. Shifting your focus away from what is “normal” to other folks and celebrating what is “normal for us” will help both you and your ADHD child find success.
Make Time for Yourself
Making sure your mental batteries are charged is of the utmost importance. Keeping up with ADHD kids can be physically and mentally exhausting. So take some time out for yourself. Remember, Bayridge Counselling Centres is here to help and provide support when you need. Feel free to call us at 905-319-1488 today!