Has one or more of your children recently been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD? Do you have questions about how to deal with an ADHD child in your home? Children with ADHD can be extremely demanding, and right now you may be questioning your ability to cope with this disorder and some its side effects. This is only normal, but as you will see, it is also unnecessary. There are several choices you can make and techniques you can implement that can help reduce the severity of your child’s symptoms and better manage his or her behavior. In this article we will discuss how to deal with an ADHD child in a bit more detail, including changes you can make in your child’s diet and activity schedule, and some tips for managing inappropriate and unwanted behavior.
4 Tips for How to Deal with an ADHD Child
Children with ADHD typically exhibit symptoms that can be placed into three broad categories: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. As a result, there will be occasions—sometimes many—when their behavior is going to be inappropriate and difficult to manage. As a parent, this may not be easy to accept, but once you do, and once you educate yourself on the intricacies of this disorder, you’ll be better prepared to implement some proactive steps that can mitigate the severity of these symptoms. To help you with this, below we have compiled a few helpful tips on how to deal with an ADHD child in your home:
- A Healthy Diet. Junk food and ADHD simply do not mix. Sugary foods, including sodas, juice, cakes and other snacks, can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD, as can foods that are fried, processed foods and dairy products. Instead, children with ADHD should eat a healthy diet consisting of fresh meat, water and plenty of fruits and vegetables, which experts say can greatly reduce the severity of ADHD symptoms.
- Plenty of Activity. Many experts agree that if you truly want to learn how to deal with an ADHD child you should turn off the television and video games and encourage outdoor play. Children with ADHD have an excessive amount of pent up energy—energy that needs to be let out. As a parent, you can help drain some of this energy by regularly organizing enjoyable activities that involve physical activity and exercise.
- Encourage Your Child’s Choices. Although ADHD may cause many symptoms, it does not affect your child’s ability to make choices. Attempting to consistently impose your will on a child will only make him/her more combative, unruly and difficult to manage. To help him/her make these choices, set some broad ground rules and allow your child to make some decisions on his/her own, including what to wear, what to do and what to eat, as long as those choices are safe ones that stay within your boundaries.
- Be Firm—but not too firm. It is important to be firm with ADHD children, which includes being consistent. If your child breaks the ground rules, for example, make sure you always follow up on the consequences. Failure to do this will only cause more problems down the road. What you want to avoid, however, is being too harsh. ADHD children will not generally respond well to yelling, scolding, spanking or accusing, and doing this could turn a small rules infraction into a major incident.
Learning how to deal with an ADHD child will take time, but as long as you keep a positive and firm attitude, allow plenty of time for exercise, and are vigilant about food choices, you can usually manage the symptoms effectively.