April 14, 2011 – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, otherwise known as ADHD (or ADD without the hyperactivity component) causes loss of focus and may display unwanted behaviors in children. Parenting an ADHD/ADD child can be difficult but there are some techniques that may help.
What ADHD or ADD is and How it Affects Children
Although scientists don’t yet understand what causes ADHD/ADD, it is known that ADHD/ADD causes children to not have good concentration, be hyper-active and display common moods of frustration, anger and sadness.
It is estimated that between 8% and 10% of school-age children suffer from ADHD or ADD and that boys more often display the illness than do girls.
Treating ADHD or ADD in Children With Medicine
There are many treatments on the market for children who suffer from ADHD or ADD. Pharmaceutical medications must be prescribed by a doctor and will require your child to be seen often to ensure the medications are working and not doing any damage to your child’s body. The side effects of pharmaceutical medications include dizziness, loss of appetite, troubles sleeping, weight loss, stunted growth, increase in suicidal thoughts, drug addiction/dependency, heart problems and liver problems – to name a few. This is why it is very important to have regular checkups and to speak with teachers and other caregivers to catch any early-warning signs.
Natural remedies are often sought-after by parents and caregivers but not all of them work. While substances like Omega-3, 6 and 9 oils are thought to play a role in the brain of an ADHD/ADD child, taking these substances orally don’t seem to make much of a difference. As a parent myself, I have found that Native Remedies herbal supplements has worked very well for my son and they have continued to work well over the last two years.
Behavioral Techniques to Help ADHD/ADD Children
There are other techniques that work to help ADHD/ADD children and they can be implemented with or without use of any pharmaceutical or natural supplements. Even if your child is taking medications or supplements, you should still implement some behavioral strategies to help your child cope with and learn to manage his ADHD/ADD. Remember, your child’s ADHD/ADD will most likely not go away, at least, not completely. He will need to learn how to live with his challenges, just as someone who is blind needs to learn how to live with their challenge with vision.
Create a Routine and Use Schedules
Consistency is key with living with ADHD/ADD. While not everything can be predicted in life, the more a routine is set and followed, the easier it will be for your child to begin remembering what needs to be done.
Organization is key to helping your ADHD/ADD child. She must be able to find everything she needs so help her by using boxes and organizers for toys,schoolwork, books, clothes etc. Begin teaching her at an early age “a place for everything and everything in its place!”
Good organization will be a skill that she continues using and learning to help her in adulthood!
Children with ADHD/ADD are often easily distracted by stimulus such as televisions, video games, sounds, lights etc. They will have to learn to tune-out those distractions as they get older but now, while they are young, help them out and turn off T.V’s when they are doing homework or working on something. They may use headphones and/or listen to music to help them focus as well.
Limit Choices for Your Child and Keep It Simple
Too many choices are a major overload of information for ADHD/ADD children. The same is said for lengthy instructions. Keep things simple; offer only one or two choices when possible and keep instructions simple. Instead of “Clean Your Room”, use a checklist and itemize what needs to be done: 1. Pick up clothes off floor and put in hamper 2. Make bed 3. Put books on shelf etc. Remind child to check off items on list and refer to “The List” when he is unsure of the next task.
Also, when dealing with your child, keep things simple, especially when disciplining them! Long-winded rants are pointless as your child will begin tuning you out and, of course, losing focus! Keep it simple, say what you need to and keep it at that. Check yourself when speaking with your child to ensure you aren’t ridiculing them or making their self-esteem worse. Some behaviors are choices yes, but some are beyond their control and it can be hard realizing the difference!
Disciplining Your ADHD/ADD Child and Punishments
For ADHD/ADD children, use simple punishments that do not last longer than a day. Anything longer than a day is pointless since the child loses focus on what the issue is and why she is being punished. Since ADHD/ADD children have a tendency to get into trouble often, you may find they have cause to receive dozens of punishments a day, so keep them simple. One technique we’ve used is writing lines or even “essays” of the undesired behavior and why it is not good. Not only is it a quick punishment, but the essays provide good insight into how your child thinks and feels and can help you in dealing with them!
Talents and Sports for ADHD/ADD Children
Your child needs to feel positive about something and even when he does something wrong, there should still be a positive spin to help keep the mood balanced. Children with ADHD/ADD tend to have lower dopamine levels which affects the rewards/motivation drive. Your child needs all the encouragement he can get and helping him to discover a talent will give him something to feel good about and also give him something to do on his own if he needs a break! Many people with ADHD/ADD like music and play quite well. Sports are also a great way to burn off energy, though late-nights with school may pose problems for some.
Books To Help Treat and Manage Childhood ADHD/ADD
A good book worth a read is “Helping Your ADHD/ADD Child: Simple Steps to Improvement.” This book focuses on some simple, yet effective strategies to help ADHD/ADD children stay focused. It also provides some insight into the minds as ADHD/ADD people and puts a positive spin on the illness by mentioning other famous and successful people who have ADHD! You can search for the paperback version by ISBN# 1257106074 or the e-book version which is available on Smashwords, Amazon and Natural e GREEN’s website.