ADHD Coaching for Children: 5 techniques to help your child

by cadabamshospital

04 January,2022 | Reading Time: 4 minutes

Parenting a child with ADHD calls for completely different approaches from the usual parenting methods. In most instances, normal routine tends to get severely affected which can prove to be overwhelming and chaotic for parents of children with ADHD. However, if we equip ourselves with tested 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, it will also be peaceful. For this to happen, it is essential to adopt ways to channelize the energies of our children, improve their ability to focus, and help them overcome their challenges in the early years.

Understanding ADHD

ADHD is a neuro-developmental 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. Hence to parent a child with ADHD, it is important to master the 3 C’s – 

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 neurochemical 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 natural methods which can improve focus and reduce restlessness. In severe cases where ADHD causes significant distress to the child and family by impacting their academic performance, sleep, and behavior, it helps to seek medical management to control the symptoms. Regardless of whether medications are part of the treatment, we can consider a few of these tried and tested strategies to manage ADHD:

  1. Structure: Children with ADHD focus best in a predictable environment. Ensure this by following a routine, i.e., come up with a daily event schedule covering the child’s academic work, play, chores, mealtimes, and sleep. Make use of timers to help them stick to the schedule. Try to keep their schedule simple and avoid making the child take on too many after-school activities to prevent overwhelming them. 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 channelize their restlessness. 
  2. Distraction-free, quiet space: Since a child with ADHD gets easily distracted, it helps to find a corner space at home away from the busy areas of the house which 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. 
  3. Physical activity: A minimum of 60-minute exercise is recommended to help channelize the restlessness in children with ADHD. The exercise 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.
  4. Games to 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 apps like TALi Train, BrainTrain, etc. 15-30 minutes of these activities every day can help in improving focus, memory, and other cognitive functions. 
  5. Natural remedies for ADHD in children: 

  • 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, 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. 

These strategies need to be implemented consistently for improvements to be noted. 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. 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. 

FAQ

What is the process of diagnosing ADHD?

Ans. ADHD is a disorder that can be diagnosed by a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or a pediatrician. The professional can use multiple tests and the criteria listed down in the APA's DSM 5 to diagnose the disorder. They must also rule out other conditions that may cause a child to be hyperactive and impulsive.

What is ADHD?

Ans. ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects many people in their childhood. Though it is diagnosed usually when the individuals are young, the disorder can last through their adulthood. People with ADHD can show symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and more.

What does ADHD diagnosis and treatment involve? Ans. There are criteria within the DSM 5 to diagnose ADHD. A mental health professional will use these to diagnose the disorder. There are multiple approaches to treat ADHD. These include medication ( which sometimes could have side effects) or other therapeutic approaches. Only a mental health professional can effectively treat the disorder.

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