The common symptoms of ADHD/ADD, such as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and disorganization can make learning and socialization more difficult for your child. The good news is that therapy will help and support your child to be successful in and out of the classroom. Since not all children with ADD/ADHD will experience the same symptoms, it’s important that parents understand their child's unique challenges and provide support and understanding. Below is a list of tips that may help your child be more successful in the classroom and build a sense of accomplishment and strengthen self-esteem.
1. Work with your child's health care provider and mental health provider to learn how you can help your child avoid the challenges that many children and families experience and ensure that your child can be successful and thrive.
2. Recognize your child's strengths and encourage them daily. Children need to know that although they may do things differently and need support in certain areas, they are smart, capable and you are proud of them. Parenting an ADHD/ADD child can have special challenges, therefore it’s important for parents to understand their role in helping their child avoid the self-esteem problems, academic and social problems that they may face. A mental health professional can provide the support and insight that both parents and children need in order to avoid the negative impact on the family and the emotional, social and academic challenges.
3. Parents are the most important advocate for their child, so understanding your child's challenges and strengths are important so you can convey this to teachers. Become a partner with your child's teacher. Be involved, and have a positive mindset, so that you and your child can build a good relationship with your child's teacher and together you can provide the support that your child needs.
4. Be informed about your child's rights and needs regarding accommodations in the classroom. Your child's teacher, school counselor and mental health professional can assist you understanding/identifying accommodations that may be helpful. Be proactive, don't wait for problems to occur, work as a team with your child's mental health provider, school counselor/ social worker, physician and teacher to develop a plan for success.
5. Help your child learn strategies that help tackle task at home and school. Break down larger tasks into smaller task, take breaks as needed, keep child's environment as clutter free as possible, provide an organized space, free from distractions for homework. Understand your child's special challenges in these areas. Be supportive in helping develop good work habits. Develop visual chore charts, schedules and rules where client can see and offer lots of praise, gentle reminders and rewards for compliance.
6. Create and provide structure at home. All children benefit from structure at home and in the classroom. Structure creates a sense of predictability and can lessen the chaos within families and help the ADHD/ADD child thrive. Structure surrounding homework, technology time, family dinners and bedtime is particularly important and can help build healthier habits that can last a lifetime. Structure can make morning and nighttime routines less stressful. Recognize the role that sleep and good nutrition plays in your child's growth and development. Speak with your child's physician or nutritionist for ways to incorporate healthy foods and avoiding to much sugar and processed foods in your child's diet. Children and Adolescents need plenty of sleep, so avoid electronics before bedtime and set bedtimes early.
7. Make family dinners a regular routine. Research shows that families that regularly eat dinner together, are closer and children are more academically and socially successful, have fewer behavioral and emotional problems and have a decreased risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Family dinners provide opportunities for families to connect, and provides a buffer for everyday stress, which in return lowers at risk behaviors. (CASA)
8. Be sure to provide time for activities, especially the activities that your child enjoys. Kids need time to unwind and be active. Getting your child involved in clubs, sports, youth groups and other activities builds self-esteem and improves social skills. Physical activities are especially valuable for overall good physical and mental health.
9. Be consistent! Predictable rules with logical consequences helps all children, especially those with ADHD/ADD. Keep rules simple and avoid long lectures. Develop rules involving electronics and technology. Avoid over-use of video games, phones, tablets, etc. Have family meetings where rules are reviewed, provide praise and plan family outings/game nights, keep it positive.
If you have any questions or think your child may have ADHD, give us a call