Raising a child is the most wonderful job in the world; though it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is also the hardest. You have the responsibility of shaping an individual’s future, often when you are still trying to add the finishing touches to your own.
During the course of your parenthood journey, you may discover certain unique traits (both positive and negative) about your child that make him stand apart. A lot of these behavioral traits could also have medical associations. Parents often attribute their child’s performance and conduct to their innate behavior. Rarely do they dig deep to understand its cause.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one such condition that is extremely common among little children and can continue even into adulthood. Children affected by ADHD experience symptoms like lack of focus, hyperactivity, and problems concentrating in school. Though this condition requires constant medical supervision, here are a few simple tips that can help you raise an ADHD affected child.
Be Calm and Patient. One of the key rules for parenting a child with ADHD is to maintain your composure and not get bogged down by his behavior.
If you get agitated each time your child fails to meet your expectations, you could indirectly be adding to his anxiety levels. Make sure you are patient while dealing with your child.
By all means avoid posing unrealistic demands on him. Try to focus on the positives rather than nitpicking the negatives. For example, if your child doesn’t clean his room, don’t continue to nag him about it. Think about all the tasks he has finished and appreciate him for the same. Instead of saying, “Why didn’t you clean your room,” say, “I am so proud that you finished all your tasks. Only cleaning up your room is left.” Offer motivation, not threats.
Follow a Structured Approach. Children affected by ADHD best function in an environment that is routine and predictable.
Offer your child an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Make sure you set a daily activity routine (for study, play, eating, and sleep) for your child to follow and try as much as possible not to deviate from it. Use alarm clocks to help you with the same.
Try to avoid overburdening your child with too many activities as it can impact his peace of mind and performance.
You should also model clarity of thought and discipline by ensuring a lack of clutter around the house. This will teach your child to maintain the same level of structure in his life as well.
Encourage Physical Activity. It’s a globally established fact that the benefits of exercise extend beyond physical wellbeing and also contribute to emotional and mental harmony.
For children with ADHD particularly, exercise is an excellent medium to utilize the extra energy as well as improve attention by concentrating on the skills and movements needed to play a sport.
In addition, exercise also improves mood (by releasing endorphins), ensures good sleep, and contributes to brain development.
Make sure that your child’s schedule includes at least an hour of physical exercise every day. Ask him to choose the sport of his choice and enroll him in practice sessions/classes for the same.
Practicing yoga and meditation also help a great deal in inducing a state of calmness and improving focus.
Set Ground Rules. As established earlier, a set structure works well for children with ADHD. It is therefore also important that you set certain prior expectations and rules to help mold your child’s behavior accordingly.
Be specific and clear about the rules and pin them up in your child’s room so he can see them every day. If your child sticks to the rules and meets your expectations, don’t forget to appreciate him through your words or actions. This will reinforce positive behavior, and encourage him.
Build on Your Child’s Social Skills. Often children with ADHD are picked on by their peers for being different. Be it their demeanor, their conversational skills, or their understanding of social cues, they are often considered strange by other children of the same age. This is why a lot of times these children have difficulty in making friends, especially during their early years.
With age, these children find their foothold and gain social acceptance among like-minded people due to their intelligence and flair. To help your child improve his social skills from an early age, try role playing common social scenarios with him.
Conduct play dates along with other children who share similar interests as your child. Be strict with your child about practicing ideal social behaviors and prevent any signs of violence in your child.
Make sure to also keep a tab on your child’s dietary choices. Include healthy energy-providing foods like leafy greens, nuts, whole grain cereals, and eggs in his diet, while avoiding high fat and sugar processed foods. Always be open to what your child has to say and never disregard his opinions on things. Remember, there are bound to be many pitfalls in your parenting journey. What is important is how well you and your child rise, learn, and grow together.
Aradhana is from India and a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health, and lifestyle. Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle. Originally published on NaturalPapa
*Image of “boy” via Shutterstock