Therapy Tips: Parenting a Child with ADHD

Attention Deficit?  If you are reading this blog, research tells us that on average the reader will stay engaged for 10-20 seconds, reading about 20 to 28% of the content before getting distracted and moving on. 

Fifteen years ago, our attention spans were about 12 seconds. Today, our attention spans have shrunk to 8.25 seconds. How can a parent know when the distraction and short attention spans they see with their children is something more than a cultural trend?

ADHD is now being diagnosed across all age ranges. With the ever increasing rise of distractions so readily available to our children, parents are noticing the effects. Our children’s attention spans are shrinking, they’re constantly fidgeting and have a difficult time focusing for more than a few minutes.

We know that ADHD can also co-occur and even mask other mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. When these traits begin to get in the way of your child’s ability to be successful in their day to day activities, their mental health is at risk. 

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, here are some parenting tips to help everyone manage the challenges that come with ADHD:

Educate YourselfADHD is a more complex diagnosis than the stigma it receives. Furthermore, there is not a one size fits all treatment, especially when it comes to medication. While medication may seem like an easy fix, it is not beneficial in all cases. Understanding alternative treatments is important to making sure your child is receiving the right care for their diagnosis.
Establish a RoutineCreate a structured routine for your child that includes regular meal times, bed time and homework time. Be as consistent as possible in sticking to this routine in their day to day schedule. This consistency is crucial in creating a feeling of structure and organization in an ADHD mind.
Stay OrganizedAs mentioned above, organization is key. Help your child stay organized by labeling items, using a planner or calendar, and having a designated spot for their belongings.
Stay ActiveAn active body will release endorphins, as well as stored up energy. It’s important to prioritize physical activity in your child’s daily schedule. Enrolling them in a sport or consistent activity is a great way to not only create social connection but to release the energy so quickly stored up in their bodies.
Get SupportIf your child has ADHD, it’s important to involve the school in their treatment plan. Talk to your child’s teacher about their needs and work together to develop strategies to help them succeed in the classroom. Therapy is also a great option for your child to receive additional support and develop coping techniques.

Remember, ADHD often comes with a co-diagnosis of anxiety or depression. The frustration of not being able to focus can create these isolating and anxious thoughts. Monitor your child’s emotional wellbeing and support them through any feelings of anxiety or distress that may arise. For support on how to support these additional emotional needs, read our article on supporting your child through anxiety. Still looking for help? Connect with Decade2Connect for the support you need!

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