Atlanta Center for Medical Research

Parenting a Child with ADHD

Atlanta Center for Medical Research Resource Blog

Having a child with ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, requires a completely different kind of parenting. Depending on the severity of the disorder, your child may need a little assistance or 24/7 care when it comes to paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Though it’s not your child’s fault, it can be very challenging and difficult to manage. This often leads to both the child and parent feeling discouraged, frustrated, and burnt out.

To avoid those negative feelings from arising, our expert team is providing several of our favorite parenting tips for children with ADHD.

Set Routines

For children with ADHD, living day to day and completing tasks is a lot more manageable when everything is in its place with predictable patterns. The best way to make that happen is to establish routines that your child understands and can keep at both school and home. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Use the same routine, if possible, day in and day out. Have your child go to bed, brush their teeth, shower, pack their lunch, and do their homework at the same time every day. This will ensure they get all those important tasks done on time. It’s also a great idea to give your child a clock or a timer that they can use to keep an eye on the time with.
  • Have an organized home that is tidy so that your child can always find what they need when they need it. Not being able to find something for a child with ADHD can be very troublesome.
  • Don’t weigh your child’s schedule down with too many tasks and activities. This will easily make them overwhelmed and unable to concentrate on what they need to focus on when they need to focus on it. And, at the same time, not having enough to do can also cause problems for your child. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but with practice and experimentation, you and your child will get there.

Of course, leading by an example is fantastic. Set your own routine that coincidences with your child so they can see how you also keep up with your necessary to-dos. Plus, it’ll keep both of you organized and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

Encourage Healthy Habits

For children with ADHD, encouraging healthy habits is an absolute must. Here’s why:

  • Children with ADHD need to properly burn all that energy they have stored up. This is why playtime and sports and other physical activities are vital for them to participate in. Plus, being active has many other benefits such as improving skin health, reducing risk for chronic diseases, positively contributing to sleep quality, improving brain health, and more. Sign your child up for team sports or get outside with them to play their favorite game.
  • Sleeping is also extremely important for children with ADHD. In order to start off their day on the right foot, they need to have a good night’s rest. Since they already have issues with concentrating, not getting enough sleep would make focusing even more challenging.
  • We all know eating the right nutrients can have a huge impact on your overall mental and physical health. Don’t give your child with ADHD any more reasons to feel tired, groggy, and cranky. Encourage them to eat enough veggies, fruit, and protein to give them the best foot possible moving forward.
  • Make sure your child has a quiet space that can retreat to when they get overwhelmed. Show them how to indulge in beneficial self-care routines so your child has a way of coping with their mental illness when things get really rough.

Work with Others

It takes a village to raise someone, and this is certainly true with your child who has ADHD. There are many people you can lean on when you need help.

Find a trusted medical professional team you can work with. Pediatricians and mental health physicians who specialize in the care of children with ADHD will be an invaluable asset to your team. They can give both you and your child the best coping mechanisms, treatment options, and healthy habits moving forward.

Working with your child’s teacher will ensure that your child is successful with school. Be open with them, listen to their suggestions, and work as closely as possible so that both your child and your teacher won't have a frustrating time in class.

Finally, ask your family members for help. They will be able to assist you with the general care and raising of your child. When you get too overwhelmed, reach out to them to see if they can step in and cover for your child while your rest.

Keep Yourself Healthy

Just like your child needs additional help in managing their ADHD, you’ll need to take extra steps to take care of yourself as well. Self-care is so vital for parents with children with ADHD, as it can be frustrating and challenging raising your child. It’s vital to keep a positive attitude and believe in your child, but it’s easy to lose that perspective when you get burnt out and overwhelmed.

The best way to prevent negative mental health and burn out for yourself is taking time to relax. Don’t feel guilty about indulging in your favorite self-care activities when it’s necessary.

The Atlanta Center for Medical Research is currently seeking volunteers to participate in child clinical trials for ADHD If you or your child are interested, click here to learn more.

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