This is a sponsored post about parenting a child with ADHD by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.
Parenting a child with ADHD can be a VERY stressful experience especially if you aren’t aware of the condition and/or how to handle it. When I started dating my husband, his son (now my son) was five years old. I VERY quickly got a crash course in parenting a child with ADHD.
One thing a lot of people may not know about me is that though it may seem I joke about having ADD, I truly DO have adult ADD. I was diagnosed as a kid, but wasn’t aware of it until I was an adult, and as it turns out I am one of the 60% of folks with childhood ADHD/ADD that continued it until adult hood! Yeah, me!
What does that mean as far as a parenting a child with ADHD? Remember I used the word crash course? It wasn’t just because I was going from being a mom to two girls to having a son, it was because my ADD and his ADHD bumped heads like two kids fighting over the last piece of cake at a birthday party! When I first became his mom, it was R O U G H.
There are a lot of things that people don’t realize about ADHD. When they here the term, they think of a kid that just can’t sit still and stay focused. There are SO many other symptoms of ADHD. Lifescript has a great list of these symptoms in their childhood ADHD website. Honestly I wish that I had known about this website when I first met my son. At the time I met him, my husband just kept saying “oh he’s just a boy.” It was my attention to my son’s habits and patterns that I noticed that what he was doing wasn’t just about being a boy.
Symptoms of ADD/ADHD include (list courtesy of LifeScript ADHD Parenting Center):
- Inattentive (classic ADD)
- Easily distracted by sights and sounds
- Doesn’t pay attention to detail
- Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
- Makes careless mistakes
- Doesn’t follow through on instructions or tasks
- Avoids or dislikes activities that require longer periods of mental effort
- Loses or forgets items necessary for tasks
- Is forgetful in day-to-day activities
- Has difficulty organizing tasks
- Hyperfocuses on certain activities
- Has difficulty with transitions
- Is restless, fidgets, and squirms
- Runs and climbs and is not able to stay seated
- Has difficulty playing quietly
- Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers before hearing the entire question
- Interrupts others
- Has difficulty waiting in line or waiting for turn
- Combined (most common type)
- Has a combination of the above symptoms
Lifescript ADHD Parenting Center has some amazing resources about parenting a child with ADHD. I highly recommend you check it out you think your child might have ADHD or are newly diagnosed. I have also come up with 10 tips to parenting a child with ADHD. These are things that my family has learned that help us with our son and has helped our family move a WHOLE lot smoother.
8 Tips for Parenting a Child With ADHD
1. Set up an Immediate Reward System: Kids with ADHD are all about getting their immediate needs met. If you need your child to do something that isn’t on their “to do” list find a great way to reward them when they do it without problem. I personally don’t recommend rewarding every time, because the ADHD child will easily start to maniuplate situations to try and get the rewards more often. Reward them enough for the task that they know if they do it they will get the reward. If you reward to seldom they will give up and not complete the tasks.
2. Use small blocks of time: If your child has homework or housework they need to do, set a timer and break it up into smaller blocks of time. When my child was younger we set a timer for 15 minutes, after that time he could play video games for 10 minutes. As he has gotten older we stretch that time a little bit longer. It helps keep your child more focused.
3. Take parenting time outs: Raising an ADHD child can be EXHAUSTING. Make sure that you have a “time out” system for yourself. Have a way to tell your significant other if you need a break, or have a babysitter on call when you need to get away for a bit.
4. Give a few choices: ADHD kids can be all about controlling their world. Make sure to offer choices where you can. Don’t give TOO many choices as this will also overwhelm them, but offering them choices you will be more likely to get them to easily go along with the plan.
5. Schedules, schedules, schedules: Kids with ADHD are allll over the place all the time. Having set schedules will help you with your sanity and theirs. Keep in mind though, ADHD kids love to test those schedules, so you really need to stay vigilent and keep those schedules in place no matter what. Otherwise life will be chaos pretty quickly!
6. Plan LOTS of physical activity: These kids have TONS of energy, trust me it’s exhausting. Make sure to fill their day with TONS of physical activity. Have them go outside and play, put them on sports teams.
7. Crystal Clear Consequences/Positive Reinforcement: ADHD kids are usually very impulsive, meaning they do without thinking. Make sure that you have crystal clear consequences when it comes to misbehavior, and also make sure to randomly surprise the child with positive praise when they have a good day. It’s really easy to only correct the behavior you don’t want, and that can quickly lead to low self-esteem in an ADHD child.
8. Tell them the differences between being bad and bad choices: Low self-esteem can be a big problem with ADHD kids. Make sure that you show examples of what making bad choices are and that does not make them a “bad” kid. Reinforce this message anytime you can.
Want to find more posts relating to Childhood ADHD? Then be sure you do not miss these articles:
- Facts About Childhood ADHD
- Dealing with Bullying: Tips for Parents of ADHD Children
- Helping an ADHD Succeed in School
Lifescript’s Childhood ADHD Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering how to help your child succeed in school, advice for getting through the morning routine, how girls’ ADHD differs from boys’ and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on Childhood ADHD for more information.