Kids are always full of energy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re prone to run, jump, shout, and overall make a ruckus; that’s just normal for young children with good health and high energy. However, some kids experience this to a more severe degree than others.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is where these traits are so frequent and severe that they interfere with the child’s ability to live life normally in school, while playing, at home, or anywhere else.
Today, we’ll bust through the truths of this disorder, and take a look at the impact that it makes on you and your kid’s life.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of ADHD
When it comes to young kids, it can be tricky. As we all know, kids are full of energy all the time. ADHD, however, is a mental condition that’s a step up from typical hyperactive toddler behavior.
Some examples of ADHD behavior include a tendency to be dangerously impulsive (climbing high places, running in the streets), complete lack of focus in school, disciplinary issues, and issues in socializing.
It’s important to note that, unlike many children on the spectrum, kids with ADHD are fully capable of understanding and adapting to social norms. It’s just that their energy and mental wiring makes them so impulsive and energetic that they struggle to comply.
Let’s look more closely at the telltale signs of ADHD.
Impulsiveness: Impulsiveness means acting on impulse; in other words, doing potentially dangerous, disruptive, or asocial behavior without thinking about the consequences. This means that a child might play more dangerously, roughhouse harder, make social blunders, disrupt class, and more.
Hyperactivity: A hyperactive child is in constant motion. They tend to be fidgety, restless and easily bored. Sitting still is almost impossible and their talking can be uncontrollable. Their hyperactivity leads them to do things they shouldn’t, and this can cause disruption.
Poor Focus: Kids with ADHD struggle in school for this reason. They may not seem to listen, get easily distracted in tasks, make careless mistakes, and often slip into a daydream. They can also be disorganized, forgetful, and lose track of their things. Overcoming this is one of the trickiest parts of school life for kids with ADHD.
These traits, to an extent, are all pretty common for young children- especially boys. They don’t necessarily mean a child has ADHD.
Also, note that the ability to be attentive and gain self-control develops as a child grows older. These skills are learned in school and at home. However, some kids don’t get much better at paying attention, listening, or waiting. When these things continue and begin to cause problems, it may be best to consult for an official diagnosis.
What An ADHD Diagnosis Looks Like
So, it’s official, medical professionals have diagnosed your kiddo with ADHD. So, what does that actually mean for you as a parent? Just as importantly, what does it mean for your kid?
ADHD for parents means your job will require more patience and foresight. There’s nothing wrong with your child at all. They’re simply going to do better in some areas, and need extra work (or a creative, different approach) in others such as schooling.
ADHD for kids means they will have a much harder time focusing in class, and many teachers will struggle with this. They may have issues socializing as well. It’s not all bad, though. ADHD can actually have some noteworthy benefits! Kids with ADHD often develop superior leadership skills, much better athleticism, and of course, more energy. If your child can learn how to direct and use this energy in life for the things they’re passionate about, they’re going to have a huge advantage!
Parenting Tips For Kids With ADHD
Stay Positive! As a parent, you play a huge role in maintaining your child’s emotional and physical health. The keys to positively influencing your child stem from maintaining a positive attitude. Staying calm and focused allows you to connect better with your child. Focus on your child’s positive and unique characteristics and trust that your child can learn, change, and eventually, succeed.
Create structure. For a child with ADHD, the ability to complete tasks becomes possible when they come in a predictable routine. Creating and maintaining the structure at home allows your child to know what to expect. You can start by establishing simple rituals around meals, homework, and play, and bed.
Set clear expectations and rules, but allow flexibility as needed. Children with ADHD work better in well-organized systems of rewards and punishment. Put up rules that are easy to understand and follow, and make sure that good behavior gets rewarded and bad behavior gets discouraged. You can implement all of these without being too strict, or damaging your kid’s self-esteem. Remember that your child may find it hard to adapt, leave some room for mistakes and learning.
Encourage sleep. Lack of sleep is devastating for all children, especially those with ADHD. A consistent, early bedtime is the most helpful strategy in fighting against inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. To help them get better rest, decrease blue lights after dark (TV, phones, computers, etc.), eliminate sugar and caffeine, and create a buffer time to do quiet activities to lower down their activity level before bedtime.
Nutrition is everything! Food has a great impact on your child’s mental state. Highly processed and sugary foods, as well as inflammatory foods like those with vegetable oil (canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil), will stunt mental and physical growth, plus cause hormonal swings that radically affect their behavior. Stick to cooking with healthy food, cut down on sugar, and use only olive, coconut, and/or avocado oil when cooking.
Teach social skills. Social interactions can be overwhelming and difficult for a child with ADHD. Their inability to adapt to social norms, talkativeness, hyperactivity, and the tendency to interrupt frequently can make them stand out among kids their age, making them an easy target for teasing and bullying. Strategies you can do with your child include: speaking gently but honestly, role-playing social scenarios, helping them choose playmates with similar language and skills, and making time for your child to develop good play behavior.
Raising a child with ADHD is different from traditional parenting, but it doesn’t need to be life-changing by any means. Depending on the type and severity of your child’s symptoms, you will need to adopt different strategies in dealing with their behavior. It can be frustrating and overwhelming, but with acceptance, understanding, and with the openness to learn parenting strategies, life can become a lot easier and more fulfilling for you and your child.