Life with a child who has ADHD has its challenges, but remember that these children aren't acting up because they want to be difficult - they can't help it. So it's important to keep the daily routine and home life as calm, predictable and stress-free as possible.
Here are some coping strategies designed to make ADHD easier on your child and the whole family:
- Try to avoid situations that require too much self-control. For instance, since children with ADHD may find it hard to focus attention for any length of time, it's unrealistic to expect them to sit still for a prolonged period.
- When you want your child to do something, get his attention with eye contact and keep your instructions simple. Focus on one thing at a time and try to break up tasks into small "bites."
- Ask your child's caregiver or teacher to agree on strategies that you will both use, so there is consistency between home and other settings.
- Allow frequent breaks from activities which require concentration.
- Get your child involved in activities that will help her use up some active energy.
- Try to keep play areas simple so your child doesn't get over-stimulated.
- When your child is old enough to understand, explain what ADHD means to your child.
To find out more about how to cope and to get support, consult your child's physician, daycare or school personnel, or your local chapter of Parents of Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.