If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, you’re not alone. In fact, an estimated five percent of children have received this diagnosis, and that figure seems to be increasing each year, although scientists aren’t exactly sure why.
By the time a doctor has diagnosed their child with ADHD, many parents are no stranger to the condition. In fact, usually they aren’t surprised when they’re told their child has ADHD.
While there are many obstacles that children with ADHD and their families will face, there are ways to make everyday life smoother for everyone. Here are a few ideas for helping both your child and your family on your ADHD journey:
- Establish a soothing home atmosphere that is unlikely to trigger your child’s ADHD. I know, easier said than done. But, as any parent of a child with ADHD knows, often, despite these kids’ best efforts, they have a difficult time remaining focused. And sometimes it’s because their environment is overly stimulating. One way to combat this is to create and maintain a clean, organized living space – in your child’s bedroom and throughout the house. This article offers great advice on creating and maintaining a calming, serene home environment to help combat troublesome ADHD symptoms.
- Build structure your child can depend on. It’s obviously important for all kids to have a reliable routine at home, school and in social settings, but this becomes an even more crucial factor to helping ADHD children succeed. If your family has had trouble in the past adhering to routine and behavioral guidelines, then now is the time to really set some boundaries and stick with them. If this concept feels like a losing battle, this resource provides ideas on creating a routine for your child that you may not have tried yet.
- Consider adding a furry, four-legged friend to your family. Dogs have a reputation for being man’s best friend for many reasons, and the benefits they offer children and adults in managing ADHD is just one more item to add to this list. If you’re not already a puppy parent, this article provides information on some of the ways a pooch may be able to help your child cope with ADHD. A dog can be a fun way for your child to learn to stick to a routine and can provide your kiddo with a companion with whom to burn off excess energy.
- Understand that ADHD isn’t black and white – it’s different for everyone. If you’re feeling frustrated over your little one’s ADHD, try to remember that your child’s symptoms may be completely different from a seemingly similar child with the same diagnosis. Some ADHD children are hyperactive; others may get hyperfocused on solo activities, such as creating artwork in coloring books, and appear quite reserved. This video provides insight into the many ways children can be affected by this condition, and what impact it may have on their families. Remember, no matter how your family is affected by ADHD, it’s normal – after all, you’re doing all that you can to support your child, and, for the record, you’re doing a great job!
Although many parents feel stress and anxiety over their child’s ADHD, there are many ways to show your little one your support. As time goes on – and often, through some trial and error to find what works best for your family – you and your child can both learn how to manage and cope with many of the pesky symptoms of this disorder.
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Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. Vee is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog, and you can also connect with her on Twitter.
Great piece. I find ALL these extremely helpful and important as I navigate family life with ADHD. I’ll add to what you said about keeping a peaceful, organized space. Children with ADHD struggle with this, so I’d like emphasize the importance of helping them or doing it for them while guiding and teaching them how to clean their room themselves. I often see parents get into huge power struggles over this issue (and I’ve been guilty of this as well — work in progress, for sure.) I had undiagnosed ADHD as a child, and my parents would leave me in my room and take away all kinds of privileges until I cleaned it up. It just didn’t work. My friends are often appalled that I clean up my kids’ rooms, but I’ve found that doing it for them and with them helps them see past the clutter. It allows them to exist in a peaceful space — they experience it, which makes them recognize the benefits, and then motivates them to strive to maintain a tidy space.
Yes! For years I cleaned WITH Lucas, and now he knows what to do. We pull ALL the junk to the center of the room and he just works on that one pile. Much easier than looking at entire room overflowing with junk. =)
These are great tips. I bookmarked the website on organization because I’m not the best at organizing (I used to be then I had kids, LOL). I wrote a similar piece on my blog. Love this post! Thanks for sharing!
We are getting more effective at managing meltdown, increasing attentiveness at home and creating an environment that is peaceful (still getting better at this, lol). Our biggest problem is school. I think his environment is so distracting: big space, fluorescent lighting, stuff EVERYwhere, and myriad of other things going on. I believe he acts out in disruptions, refusal to do work, and interrupting class instruction because he’s stressed out. Any one have similar experiences? I’m at a loss how to help him.
I have just found your blog, and read a couple of your posts on Scary Mommy, and after getting myself together after weeping for an hour I just wanted to say “thank you”. My 4.5 year old was diagnosed yesterday with ADHD and while this is no surprise, it hit me like a ton of bricks. The could not have been a more perfect time for me to find your posts. I can’t even explain the amazement and comfort that comes from hearing my story echoed in someone else’s. To hear that it’s OK not to be perfect, to have a tough time with it all, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I NEEDED this today. I can’t explain it, all I can say is thank you. Please keep doing what you are doing, your voice speaks more than just your own story.
Ah! Just saw this comment! I’m so glad what I wrote helped you. I also recommend following ADDitude Mag on Facebook. They post ADD articles all day long. Very helpful. 🙂
I recently read your article on Today’s website about medicating your son. Maybe I missed it but how old was Lucas when you started to medicate? I have a 4 y/o with ADHD so bad the developmental pediatrician said he’s probably going to need to be medicated before kindergarten. I just think he’s to young. But he has some fine motor delays and occupational therapy and a preschool IEP isnt helping him catch up because he won’t sit down to do anything like write or play with play doh or put together a puzzle anything that requires fine motor skills. He has one last year of preschool and I’m afraid he won’t be ready for kindergarten, I just don’t know what to do!
Man, that is REALLY young for meds. I’m no doctor and can’t give medical advice, but I can tell you that if it were me I would get a second opinion. Best of luck to you, I know this is no easy journey. xo