If your child has ADHD, you may feel all alone. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.9 million children between the ages of 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with this disorder. Parenting a child who has trouble concentrating in school or can't sit still can be difficult at times, but it does not have to be a nightmare. Here are seven effective ways to parent a child with ADHD:
Create a Routine for Your Child
A child with ADHD has more trouble staying focused, so it is important to establish a routine for yours. Providing structure will help your child remember things better and complete everything on time. For example, you could have your child eat a healthy snack and do his homework right after he gets home from school. Before bedtime, instruct your child to lay out the clothes he wants to wear the next day and take a bath.
Encourage Your Child to Exercise
Regular physical activity will do more than keep your child in great shape; it can also help him work off excess energy and improve his concentration. Have your child do some type of exercise when he gets home from school, such as going for a walk, riding a bike or just running around in the backyard. You could also encourage your child to join a team sport, like baseball or basketball.
Be Willing to Compromise
If your child suffers from ADHD, it's important to compromise with him and not make a big deal about the small stuff. If it seems like your child is making a real effort to stay focused and finish his tasks, you have to work with him. For instance, if your child cleaned his room and took the dog out but forgot to do the dishes, you should not sweat it.
Make Sure Your Child Gets Proper Rest
Although adequate sleep is important for all children, it is especially crucial for those with ADHD. Getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night will help your child concentrate better and be less hyperactive. Try to have your child wake up and go to bed at the same times every day. A couple hours before bedtime, make sure your child turns off all his electronics and does something more relaxing, such as reading a book.
Give Your Child the Opportunity to Make Choices
If you want your child to learn self-control, you have to let him make his own choices once in a while. However, you should simplify these choices as much as possible. For example, you could ask your child if he prefers to complete his science or English homework first.
Pay Attention to Your Child's Strengths
Focusing on your child's strong points instead of his weaknesses can increase his self-confidence and help him work harder. For example, instead of harping on your child's lack of concentration, focus on his ability to draw or play an instrument.
Even if you give your child all the support in the world, he can still benefit from professional counseling. During therapy sessions, a licensed counselor can talk to your child about his struggles with ADHD and help him develop healthy coping strategies. A counselor may also suggest putting your child on medication to help control some of his symptoms. (click for more information)
Raising a child with ADHD can be a struggle, but following these helpful tips can make things a little easier. When you feel overwhelmed, do not be afraid to take a break and do something you like, such as taking a walk or watching a movie.
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