Parenting is already a tough job, and parenting a child with ADHD can make it even harder. It can be very easy to start to feel overwhelmed and feel like you are not able to cope, however there are a lot of things that are proven to help your ADHD child. The first thing you will need to do is research all you can about ADHD so that you can start a treatment plan with help from experts in the field. This article will outline the basics of what you need to know about parenting a child with ADHD.
***Disclosure – This post is sponsored***
What Is ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is one of the most common mental disorders that affects children. It is often diagnosed in childhood and can last into adulthood.
Children who have ADHD may struggle to pay attention, control impulsive behaviours or be excessively active. While most children are active and don’t always pay attention children with ADHD have more severe symptoms that they don’t just grow out of. It can cause hardships at school and at home.
Symptoms of ADHD in children include:
- frequent daydreaming
- forgetfulness (including losing things)
- talking too much
- taking risks and making careless mistakes
- finding it hard to resist temptation
- fidgeting and squirming
- difficulty taking turns
- difficulty getting on with others
There are three different types of ADHD depending on which symptoms prevail and since symptoms can change over time the type of ADHD may change. The three different types are known as Predominately Inattentive Presentation (struggles to finish tasks, pay attention to detail and follow instructions, easily distracted and forgetful), Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (fidgets and talks a lot, struggles to sit still, restless and poor impulse control, may have more injuries and accidents than others) and Combined Presentation (the previous two types are present equally).
The risk factors and causes of ADHD are unknown, however research suggests that genetics plays a big role with other possible factors being low birth weight, premature delivery, brain delivery, tobacco and alcohol use during delivery, as well as exposure to environmental factors such as lead during pregnancy or at a very young age.
There is no evidence that ADHD is caused by too much screen time, eating sugar, parenting, or environmental/ social factors such as family drama or poverty. However these factors may contribute to make symptoms of ADHD worse.
Parenting A Child With ADHD
If you have a child who has ADHD it is important to remember that along with specialized treatments there are many simple things that you can do as a parent to manage ADHD and reduce symptoms associated with this mental disorder.
Structure and Routine
All children benefit from a routine. It creates a feeling of security being in a predictable environment. A daily routine and following a schedule creates structure.
Due to the fact that children with ADHD find it difficult to regulate themselves and find it challenging to have self control. Creating structure and routine at home will help your ADHD child to better manage their symptoms. It will help them learn how to set aside the time needed to complete simple day to day things such as homework, chores, getting ready for bed and getting ready for school.
Consistency in parenting is always important, but even more so when you are parenting a child with ADHD.
While a bad diet certainly won’t cause ADHD making sure that your ADHD child eats a healthy and balanced diet can make life easier for you and your child.
It is highly recommended to avoid foods that are high in sugar and caffeine. Children with ADHD can be sensitive to the side effects of caffeine, particularly if they are on ADHD medication.
While many teens may find energy drinks cool and fun, make sure your ADHD teen stays far away from them. The typical ingredients in energy drinks are high in sugar, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, artificial colourants and other stimulants.
Exercise is a fantastic mental health tool for everyone and amazing for children with ADHD. With so much restless energy regular exercise can be one of the best natural ways to help reduce ADHD symptoms.
The type of exercise is not so important as getting outside into nature to burn off some excess energy every day. Being outdoors in nature has shown to be calming for kids with ADHD.
Being active is good physically as well as mentally. Exercise changes the amount as well as the mix of chemicals (neurotransmitters) that the brain releases, including dopamine.
Dopamine plays a role in many physical functions and behaviour including mood, sleep, concentration, learning. motivation, attention, movement, kidney function, heart rate, blood vessel function and more. Many mental health challenges are linked to too little or too much dopamine. Exercise is the best natural way to regulate dopamine levels.
Formulating A Treatment Plan
It is important to create a treatment plan and getting expert help is recommended for this. An ADHD specialist can help you develop a comprehensive and holistic treatment plan that focuses on measurable objectives.
Your treatment plan can include medication, behavioural therapy, and/ or an educational curriculum that is specialized.
It is important to keep in mind that as your child grows and develops the treatment plan may need to be adjusted. The plan needs to take into account your child’s social needs, personality, home life, school life, extracurricular activities and more.
It will also need to consider the entire family as everyone will be involved with and affected by the treatment plan.
Being Involved and In Control
While the experts have an important place when it comes to managing and treating your child’s ADHD it is essential that you as the parents are involved and in control of everything. It is also essential that your child has some input so asking your child to give you some insight into what they wish could be easier will be very helpful.
Tracking Behaviour and Symptoms
Having a clear history of your child’s symptoms and behaviour over a period of time is going to be essential and very often you will be asked by professionals to summarize your child’s symptoms. It can be very hard to recall everything and it can become confusing.
Start tracking every observation or concern as it happens and you will thank yourself later when you need to see your child’s progress over a period of time.
Cohesive Feedback Of Experience
It is important that you track not only your experience of your child’s ADHD symptoms, but of all the people that are intimately involved in your child’s life. Your experience of your child may not the same as your partner’s experience of that of their school teacher.
Everyone’s opinion is important and one person cannot track everything alone.
How Tracto Makes Parenting A Child With ADHD Easier
Tracto is a free app (with a premium option) to empower families on their mental health journey. With Tracto you can do the following:
- Add a team of caregivers such as parents, teachers, guardians and more.
- Monitor progress by tracking symptoms and side effects, as well as complete digital assessments
- Manage reminders for medication and activities.
- Share information such as reports with caregivers and medical professionals
- Be informed so that you can make better decisions for your child’s wellbeing and health
- Keep care information private and secure (POPIA and GDPR compliant)
As you can see Tracto will make keeping track of everything and parenting your child with ADHD easier for you and everyone involved in your child’s process.
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