A big part of my job is teaching parents and other caregivers ADHD strategies for managing ADHD behaviors in children.
As a doctor who specializes in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and as the mother of a son with ADHD, I know first-hand the challenges of raising children with ADHD.
The good news is that a prepared parent is a successful parent.
With a little education and practice, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be managed and children and adults with the condition can thrive and become successful.
Tips For Parents/Caregivers Of Young Children
For young children (age 5 and younger), concrete approaches tend to be most effective. For example, it helps to provide a routine with respect to bedtimes, wake times, homework times, play times, etc.
Consistency is paramount, and, if necessary, you can use a time to help set routines and expectations. In addition, inform your child beforehand when you know their routine will change. Prepare them for how to respond.
Create a reward system for good behavior ad provide clear expectations and provide immediate consequences for when the child does not meet expectations.
Break long tasks up into manageable segments in order to make them easier. Further, maintain frequent contact with teachers and work in conjunction with all treatment providers as a team in order to provide optimal and consistent treatment for your child.
For tweens and teenagers, the same techniques generally apply but you will have to alter your methods as your child gets older. For example, you will want to give your child more of a voice in terms of expectations, rewards, consequences. This creates more "buy-in" and increases their likelihood of cooperation and future success.
Also, during this stage your child will be more sensitive to their appearance and how others view them. As a result, refrain from scolding them in front of others as this will create resentment.
Try to understand that this developmental stage is difficult and awkward, and suffering from ADHD in addition to being a teenager is especially challenging.
Other Useful Tips
It goes without saying that parents should always set a good example for their child. Yelling or becoming exasperated will sabotage even the best ADHD strategies.
Remember to give yourself a time-out every so often. If you become too stressed, try speaking with a counselor or join an ADHD support group.
Also, remember to engage in self-care. You cannot properly care for others if you do not take care of yourself. This includes getting sufficient sleep, knowing your personal frustration limits, and taking needed breaks when necessary.