How to help your ADHD child

  • Added:
    Sep 05, 2012
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No Pressure

When you set out to establish a routine for your child it is important that you do it in such a way that they feel “trapped” or too controlled by you. They should not feel that it is punishment.

A simple example is making a chart. List reasonable responsibilities, tasks and chores. If they do what they are meant to without being told they receive a sticker. At the end of a pre determined time period they should be rewarded. Involve them in this process. Being part of designing and making the chart, having input on their chores and responsibilities as well as deciding with you what their rewards could be will create a positive feel towards doing tasks and chores.
This kind of rewards system can help you create a structured and consistent environment when it comes to rules and discipline.


Structured Choices

If your child feels he is allowed to make his own decisions he will be less likely to act out. This does not mean you should give your child an endless possibility of options.

“Structured choice” is a technique where you give your child limited choices which steer him in the right direction whilst giving him the reassurance that you trust him enough to give him the opportunity and freedom to make his own choices.


Activity and Sleep

Children with ADHD are known to have a lot of energy to burn. It is recommended that you encourage your child to be active. Get them involved in organised sports and other physical activities.
It is not only good for them to get their energy out in this way but it also helps them to focus their attention on a specific goal or learning a skill.
The most important benefit of exercise for a child with ADHD is that it assists in better sleep. A good night’s rest or a better sleep routine can help your child tremendously.

If your child has an inconsistent bed time and sleep routing this will lead to him not getting enough sleep. This in turn leads to him or her being less attentive.

Try to lower your child’s activity level for 30 minutes to an hour before their bed time.


Ignore the bad, reward the good

As difficult as it may be, sometimes it is best to “ignore” or not reprimand a reaction or behaviour. Channel your energy towards giving yourself the patience to keep your composure to seem as though you are ignoring the behaviour and rather complement or “reward” a behaviour that pleases you.
A negative behaviour is “as good as” a positive one in the minds of most ADHD children.
Arguing or showing resistance to follow instructions is more often than not a diversion. Whether it be to delay doing homework, cleaning up their bedroom, finishing their meal or getting dressed. It is a way to “take control” and push your buttons.

How to handle button pushing behaviour

Button pushing is something that will constantly be happening if your child suffers from ADHD. The more your child notices a reaction to something he says or does this creates a “mental not” for another “button”.
For this reason it is very important not to show anger or guilt. Appear confident and composed. If you feel you need to leave the room in order to keep calm then do so, but take a deep breath and count to ten first. It is far too easy to get yourself in a frenzy and storm out when your child starts throwing a tantrum and being difficult. To your child throwing a tantrum is a sure fire way to make sure some button, any button, will be pushed.


Stay Calm

As mentioned even negative attention is attention. This is why it is a good idea to leave the room if your child starts screaming and yelling at you in a tantrum. As explained it is important for you to keep your composure but you should not simply walk out.

When your child is in this highly emotional state it is not the time to try and reason with him. You need to make sure to put across that you are not ignoring what he is feeling. Acknowledge his emotions of anger or frustration and tell him you will talk with him when he can use a normal tone of voice.


Make it Clear

It is important in any situation in which your child tries to push the boundaries or show signs of trying to state the rules concisely and then move on.
Remember that the child will most probably try to pull you into an argument. This is a fight for power or control of the situation. You should not engage. Make it clear that you understand that what you expect them to do is no fun/boring.


There are various discipline techniques that you can try to control your child’s ADHD before resorting to medication.
With  some research you may find some techniques and coping mechanisms that work for you and your family.

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