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ADHD can be a stressful condition for both the child it affects and the rest of the family, and it can be difficult for parents to know which strategies will help manage it.
Per the American Psychological Association, ADHD is a “lifelong, persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development across time and settings.” It is generally diagnosed by age 12 or earlier, and while children are the primary point of diagnosis, the condition is not limited only to children—in most cases, it is lifelong.
Approximately 5 percent of all adults have ADHD, which totals over 11 million people in the United States alone. It can occur in both males and females, and there is no cure.
These strategies will help you best manage your child’s ADHD around the home.
Many children with ADHD need to burn off energy, and exercise is a primary method for accomplishing this. If possible, combine exercise with structure, such as a team or individual sport.
Exercise and diet often go hand in hand, but be cautious of what you read on the internet about diet and ADHD. Don’t give in to the common myth that things like sugar or artificial food coloring increases ADHD symptoms, and be cautious about vitamins and supplements, which are often marketed as “alternative” treatments for ADHD. Research and results about diet’s effect on ADHD are limited, and you should discuss your child’s diet with your doctor if you have concerns.
Set Expectations and Reward Positive Behavior
Attaching appropriate rewards to good behaviors to help motivate your child. These rewards are at your discretion—you know best what sorts of things will motivate your child.
A big part of this is allowing your child to take accountability for their own behavior. Help them learn that there are consequences for negative behaviors and rewards for good ones.
Encourage Proper Sleep
Kids who have ADHD are already at a focus deficit in many cases, and lack of proper sleep can only exacerbate this. Here are some basic sleep guidelines for kids based on age:
Try to limit screens before sleep time, as these have been shown to interfere with sleep habits. Remove these at least an hour before bedtime.
Stay Consistent and Remain Positive
No matter what specific details you put into your ADHD management plan, one of the most important factors is staying consistent. Children with ADHD are in particular need of a sense of stability—a lack of structure can be confusing.
While a structure of rewards and consequences is vital, it’s also important to be cognizant of emotions. Many children with ADHD also have poor self-esteem, and it may take time for parents to find the right balance with their use of a rigid structure and an understanding of these issues. In general, a good tactic to stick to is using praise four times as often as you use criticism or punishment—even if the praise is something simple.
Your family doctor can offer additional recommendations on good strategies for managing your child’s ADHD around the home.
Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages, and committed to providing thorough and timely health care for the entire family throughout all stages of life.
“ADHD: The Facts.” Attention Deficit Disorder Association. https://add.org/adhd-facts/
“How to manage your child’s ADHD at home.” Children’s Health. https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/managing-adhd-at-home
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.