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ADHD Coaching for Children: 5 Techniques To Improve Focus
Parenting a child with ADHD calls for completely different approaches from the usual parenting methods. In most instances, a normal routine tends to get severely affected which can prove to be overwhelming and chaotic for both the child and the parents.
However, if we equip ourselves with evidence-based strategies to support our children and work towards decreasing the impact of ADHD on their everyday behaviors, then not only will parenting be more manageable, but it will also be peaceful. For this to happen, it is essential to adopt ways to channel the energies of our children, improve their ability to focus and help them overcome their challenges in the early years.
Understanding How ADHD Affects Your Child
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and is marked by difficulties with concentration, restlessness, poor sitting tolerance, and other issues arising out of these symptoms. We need to understand that children with ADHD are not being excessively lazy or naughty, but that their behaviors are a result of changes in the brain’s neurochemistry. Taking on this perspective would help us empathize with them as well as look for ways to help them manage their symptoms better.
For a child with ADHD, it is a frustrating experience. They would want to focus on tasks but are unable to. They would want to listen in class but frequently find themselves distracted thus making them frustrated. It would help to understand the impact of these issues on their academic goals, their friendships as well as on their self-esteem. To parent a child with ADHD, it is important to master the 3 Cs –
Calm: As a parent, we need to keep our cool and manage our own emotions. Children learn by observing our behaviors; thus, we need to model appropriate emotional regulation to them.
Consistency: We need to be consistent in our communication and behaviors while interacting with them. The more consistently we apply the techniques to help our child cope with ADHD, the greater will be the chances of success.
Compassion: Since ADHD is a result of neurodevelopmental changes in the brain, it helps to not be judgemental of our child’s behavior and rather be empathetic. This approach will ensure trust and effective communication between us and our children.
Strategies to Improve Focus: Activities for Children with ADHD
Children with ADHD benefit from environmental modification and other basic measures which can improve focus and reduce restlessness. Regardless of whether medications are part of the treatment, we can consider a few of these tried and tested strategies to manage ADHD:
Distraction-free, quiet space-
Since a child with ADHD gets easily distracted, it helps to find a space at home that is quiet and distraction-free. Let the space be well-lit, clutter-free, and organized with limited materials around which has the potential to distract.
A minimum of 60-minute exercise is recommended to help channel restlessness in children with ADHD. Exercising can involve a mix of outdoor play, cycling, gymnastics, and/or dance. Enrolling them in team sports like football would also be effective as they help build social skills, reduce restlessness, and improve focus.
Cognitive games like jigsaw puzzles, word search, crosswords, spot the differences, mazes, sudoku, etc. prove helpful in improving the attention span of children. These activities are available in activity books and also online through a multitude of apps. 15-30 minutes of these activities every day can help in improving focus, memory, and other cognitive functions.
Diet management is important in controlling the impact of ADHD. Research has implicated artificial food coloring and specific preservatives in increasing hyperactivity. Look for food allergies as specific foods like eggs, gluten, and dairy have been known to contribute to symptoms. It helps to ensure adequate nutrition and a healthy breakfast before starting school as it has been linked to better focus on academic tasks.
Mindfulness, which is the art of training the mind to be in the ‘here and now, is known to be effective in calming children. Children with ADHD would benefit from practicing mindful breathing exercises to help them focus better.
Yoga, as well as Tai chi, has shown a positive effect in improving concentration and reducing overactivity. Super-brain yoga especially has shown promising results in children who consistently practice it.
Coaching Learning & Life Skills
The foundation of any approach to managing ADHD includes training or coaching for both the parents and the children.
Maintaining short-term or long-term goals can be a struggle for children with ADHD, which is why experts recommend keeping a few things in mind as they determine and follow through with their goals. Firstly, it is important to recognize the purpose of a particular goal. This entails understanding the motivations behind a task and ensuring that these motivations have personal value.
Creating an extensive list of ways to achieve a goal is also essential, as focusing on one particular task to reach the final destination can feel monotonous. Further, determining a start and end point, planning for setbacks or obstacles, and more are essential to sustaining one’s attention and efforts toward said goal.
Make use of timers to help them stick to the schedule. Provide short breaks in between their learning schedules to energize them and help them focus better when they get back to work. The breaks can be activity-oriented, where they can move around, talk to family, or do short exercises like jumping jacks to help channel their restlessness.
Children with ADHD focus best in a predictable environment. Ensure this by following a routine, i.e., coming up with a daily schedule covering the child’s academic work, play, chores, mealtimes, and sleep. Try to keep their schedule simple and avoid making the child take on too many after-school activities to prevent overwhelming them.
Social and Self-Advocacy Tips
Openly communicating your needs, standing your ground, seeking help, and more are what define self-advocacy. These aspects are only possible once you understand the condition and the effect it has on your child. However, advocacy is not limited to parents. Teaching your child to advocate for themselves by helping them develop social skills is essential to their development. This entails encouraging them to speak their truth, be assertive, be specific, and listen actively.
When to Seek Profession Help?
In situations where the ADHD symptoms are significantly interfering with the child’s school and routine, it helps to reach out to a Child Psychiatrist for medications to manage the hyperactivity. Behavior therapy can help children manage their problem behaviors and motivational issues. Parents can also benefit from Parent Management Training programs provided by mental health professionals to help them deal with the impact of ADHD as well as equip them with more strategies to assist their child to overcome their challenges.
How Can Cadabams Help?
At Cadabams Hospital, we have a team of Child Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologists trained in addressing the symptoms of ADHD. Reach out to us to learn about ADHD, its impact and to understand many more ways to help your child cope with this condition.
Can coaching help ADHD?
Coaching has proven to be beneficial for children with ADHD. The practice entails providing strategies and support to help them deal with challenges associated with focus, time management, goal setting, and more. Coaching accompanied by medical treatment can go a long way in improving a child’s overall well-being.
What are the basics of ADHD coaching?
The basics of ADHD coaching include-
- Goal development
- Time management
How do you teach coping skills to a child with ADHD?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while teaching your child coping skills for ADHD-
- Break tasks into steps
- Use visual aids
- Provide clear instructions
- Establish routines
- Reward positive behavior
- Foster social skills
How to treat ADHD in kids?
Treatment for ADHD involves a combination of psychotherapy, medications, occupational training, and more. The goal is to tailor the approach to the kid’s needs to promote overall well-being.