*This is a guest post from Christine Maddox*
There are often challenges that come with parenting a child with a diagnosis of ADHD, often centering around positive ways to encourage a child to stay focused for example on household tasks like picking up a room or doing homework. Challenges can spill into school as well, sitting back and watching your child slip behind in school because they simply can’t focus can be heartbreaking. Although medication and behavioral techniques are options that families explore to help their child, here are five positive ways that are sensitive to the needs of a child that may have ADHD that many families find helpful to encourage more focus:
1. Diet – As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” Practicing a balanced diet of healthy foods can help the child focus. Using brain-enhancing foods such as eggs and berries can help align your child’s thoughts while providing the nutrition they require. Use more fruits and vegetables for after-school snacks instead of brownies or candy. Another aspect to diet is that some cases of ADHD were linked to an allergic reaction to a food that the child consumes. Once the food was removed, the child started to level out. (Source: Brain researcher and ADHD expert Daniel Amen, MD)
2. Speak Directly – Yelling up the stairs for your child to do something does not work well. Besides, it’s better to converse one-on-one, especially for the child that needs help focusing. Have them focus on you while you provide instruction. This may be difficult if the child fidgets a lot, but speaking directly to him or her can help them absorb what needs to be done. Touching a child’s arm while speaking can be very beneficial as well – read more here about physical affection and discipline.
3. Silence – When giving a child instruction, it is better to eliminate any audible distractions to help him or her focus on you. Even the slightest of background noises can pull his or her attention away from you. The child isn’t doing this to purposely make you angry. He or she simply doesn’t know any better and some impulses are overwhelming. Turning off the television, music, and anything else that can be a distraction will help greatly.
4. Patience – It can be greatly frustrating for a parent to try and speak to a child that continuously moves about or has a mind that wanders. You need to keep yourself centered and realize that this is a challenge that the child is still learning to cope with. It may get better over time, but for now you need to be patient. If your child won’t understand why you are angry with them and that can be devastating for a little one.
5. Homeschooling – If you live in an area where one-on-one instruction from a teacher’s aide or other qualified professional is unavailable in school, it may be in your child’s best interest to try homeschooling. Many ADHD children have problems learning while in large groups of students for they are easily distracted. A one-on-one approach to learning can be greatly beneficial to teach your child everything they will need to know in order to succeed.
While your child may seem like a little ball of energy, you can help focus that power to the child’s benefit. It’s not going to become an overnight fix, and you will have to put work into helping your child succeed. Just keep in mind that many of the experiences your child is facing right now are new concepts for him or her. Don’t judge what you think should be easy based on your decades worth of experience. Practice patience for your child and everything will piece together.
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.