This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com to share some tips on dealing with adhd in children. As always, all opinions are my own.
I have dealt with ADHD in children for so many years. My oldest son NEVER slept. Everyone would tell me that he would grow out of that stage. They said he would calm down when he got older. The older he got the more I heard, ‘Oh next year will be better since he will be 2. Next year will be easier when he is 3, etc” Finally when he was almost 4 our pediatrician was getting pretty worried about him. He had still not slept through the night or longer than 4 hours at a time. He was running rampant all day long and he did not nap. He was biting himself when he was told no, throwing things, and hurting other people constantly for no reason at all. We were referred to a childhood psychiatrist. I did research as much as I could online but things were less available in those days so I was pretty nervous getting referred to our doctor. I wish I had a resource like Lifescript.com. Everyone told me that my son probably had ADHD and he needed medication and I just didn't think that a three/four year old should be on medication. I had grown up with a boy whose parents kept him so medicated that he looked like he was high all the time and I never wanted that for my son.
I should not have worried. Our doctor met with us and told us about play therapy. He told us that ADHD in children could not be diagnosed so young and that he thought Matthew probably had a hyperactivity disorder but when he got older and went to school we could really find out. He told my mom and I (I lived with my parents and his deadbeat dad was not around) that it was going to be a tough road but that many kids can handle their hyperactivity with play therapy. I was certainly ready to try.
Some tips we learned in play therapy:
1. Routines, Routines, Routines. This is probably true of all children but especially when you encounter ADHD in children that you need to have a routine. You need set rules for things so that there is no confusion. It helps if the rules are written. Daily checklists are also a great idea.
2. Consistency. Our doctor told us to talk to the pre-school teacher, the daycare workers, and my dad about making sure that everyone was on the same page with our discipline plan and different routines to try to keep order. My son's teachers put him separate from other children so that he wasnt disturbing the class by moving so often.
3. Play hard and play often. Develop ways for your children to burn off energy throughout the day. Children with ADHD can often get transfixed on things like video games and will spend hours lost in that world. You should find ways for your child to exercise so that they wont get ‘jittery on the inside' as my son puts it.
4. Break chores and tasks down. Matthew is 11 now but I still only try to give him one thing to do at a time. If you give a child with ADHD too many instructions or too difficult instructions they will either not finish or get really frustrated.
We paid for private school from k3 to kindergarten for my son so that he would be in a smaller class and have more attention from his teacher. He would still get in trouble for disrupting the class but it was handled well due to our plan that we discussed with his teachers and principal. We moved in with my husband right before my son started 1st grade and we decided to try the public school system. It did not work out well. He just could not handle himself the way they expected and they asked me to talk to his psychiatrist about medication. He was officially diagnosed with ADHD in 1st grade and was marked with an emotional disorder in 3rd grade. So we tried a few things and eventually settled. Now he is 11 years old and he still has impulse control problems and he probably always will. He is a normal A-B student who plays sports, throws himself into everything his Boy Scout troop does and talks back to his parents like pre-teens often do. We still have daily chore charts and we still meet with the teacher often to make sure our plans are in place. Consistency is what helped us manage. Children with ADHD are extremely expressive. When he was young, my son often told me that he was sorry immediately after hurting someone or throwing something. He would be so apologetic. He said that he ‘thought' too much stuff and sometimes it exploded out of him. To hear a small child say something like that is just heartbreaking. I am happy we were able to work out how best to deal with ADHD but it is still a ongoing battle as he gets older.
Lifescript’s Childhood ADHD Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering how to help your child succeed in school, advice for getting through the morning routine, how girls’ ADHD differs from boys’ and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on Childhood ADHD for more information.
You can also visit these articles for more help
- U.S. Asks if Food Dyes Make Kids Hyperactive
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- How to Help ADHD Children