Children with ADHD may often prove challenging for parents. Part of what makes these children so challenging to raise is that they lack the ability to pay attention, which makes it hard for them to understand or follow directions.
Another problem is that children who suffer from ADHD often find themselves in a continuous mode of hyperactivity. Fortunately, there are ways parents can both identify signs of ADHD in their child and manage the symptoms.
Identifying Signs of ADHD
Sometimes it is hard to discern between normal behavior and behaviors triggered by ADHD. Normally, a child will develop signs and symptoms of ADHD before they reach the age of seven. Unfortunately, young children are often rambunctious and distracted, which makes it hard to determine if they have ADHD.
Fortunately, there are a few signs and symptoms to pay attention to, such as:
- Has trouble paying attention – distracted easily, bored with a task before completion (does not always display hyperactivity)
- Does not seem to listen when given instructions or when someone is speaking
- Has difficulty remembering tasks and details – may make mistakes when carrying out tasks
- Finds it difficult to plan activities, stay organized, or finish tasks
- Often loses items such as homework and toys
In addition to the symptoms listed above, you should also look for signs of hyperactivity, although not all children with ADHD experience hyperactivity. Signs of hyperactivity include:
- Has trouble staying still – squirms, fidgets restlessly, cannot play quietly, cannot relax
- Needs to consistently stay moving – running, climbing, sometimes plays inappropriately (excessive activity in areas where it is not acceptable – school, church, store, etc.)
- Talks loudly and often excessively
- Seems to have a short-fused temper – gets upset easily
- Interrupts conversations
- Seems unable to control emotions – may result in crying for no reason, upset when there is no need or temper tantrums over something minor
- Does not take time to problem solve – bursts out with guesses or answers instead
- Does not think before acting
Identifying children with ADHD can be a huge help for both you and your child. If you happen to recognize any of the symptoms, make sure you get with a professional as soon as you can. A professional can assist your child in managing the symptoms for better behavior and focus. With help, your child can flourish both at home and at school.
Managing the Symptoms at Home
Although there are steps a professional will take to manage the symptoms of ADHD using therapy and perhaps medication, there are also steps you can take at home. Keep in mind that a child with ADHD often displays a lot of positive attributes. For instance, children with ADHD are often creative, enthusiastic, fun, and energetic. Very rarely will you suffer a boring moment if your child has ADHD.
There are ways you can help your child manage his or her symptoms and issues. Typically, when a child has trouble paying attention, they get into trouble, struggle to make friends, and suffer from bad grades. You can assist your child with these issues, which helps avoid unnecessary frustration and disappointment.
Some of the things you can do to manage your child’s symptoms include:
- Offering Help Before it is Requested: Knowing that your child does not have the ability to pay attention, you should offer to help with homework and other tasks. Do not wait for your child to come to you for help. Likely, your child does not even realize that there is an issue. Therefore, make it a point to offer help when it is time to sit down and do homework.
- Set Expectations: Children with ADHD are no different from children without ADHD. You must set a clear list of expectations for your child. If your child does not adhere to your expectations, provide consequences, and follow through on your consequences. Eventually, your child will understand what to do and what not to do.
- Ensure Proper Sleep and Activity: A combination of a restful night’s sleep and daytime activity can help you manage your child’s symptoms. Your child needs quality sleep to reduce the symptoms associated with ADHD. However, they also need plenty of physical activity during the day to burn off additional hyperactivity created by ADHD.
- Provide a Proper Diet: Make sure that your child eats healthy. Provide snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and even crackers between meals. Limit sugar foods that may add to your child’s hyperactivity.
- Schedule Playdates for Your Child: Since children who suffer from ADHD often struggle to make friends, you can set up playdates to improve your child’s ability to make friends. Assist your child in listening and playing properly with other children so interactions are smoother and more successful.
By applying the tips above, you can assist your child in dealing with symptoms of ADHD. Of course, no one expects you to be a miracle worker. If you find that your best efforts are not working, it is highly recommended that you visit with a therapist that can help you and your child. Therapists who work with children with ADHD can be your greatest asset when trying to normalize your household once again.
Monica Ramunda is a solution-focused therapist with an office located in Louisville, Colorado for in-office visits. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 16 years experience in therapy and counseling, Monica works as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with adults and children respectively. Much of Monica’s success is based on her eclectic orientation and drawing on a wide range of different approaches and techniques all while remaining strongly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT).