It takes a strong and understanding parent to help ADHD children learn the skills to make better choices

Children with ADHD can have significant challenges managing their behaviour…

When it comes to medication

First, recognise that some medications work better than others, and sometimes one works for a while and then stops being helpful. I would consult with the doctor who is overseeing your child’s meds to ensure that he or she is being evaluated and monitored appropriately, and not just given a one-size-fits-all medication for ADHD.

All children tend to have a hard time behaving properly when they’re hungry, tired, or buzzed out on sugar and junk food

It is important to make sure your child is well-nourished and rested. Make sure your child is getting plenty of sleep and a good breakfast, along with a mid-morning snack and a lunch that is low on sugar and high on complex carbohydrates and protein.

Many ADD children tend to behave in ways more similar to a child about 30% younger than their chronological age, so when you’re setting expectations for your child, it may be helpful to consider your child to be younger than he or she actually is! If you are struggling with misbehaviour, it’s likely that this immaturity is impacting your child’s ability – or inability – to stay out of conflict with classmates, especially if he or she is being deprived of the chance to run around and burn off excess energy by being kept in the school office at break time.

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Here are a few tips you can use to teach your ADHD child to make better choices:

  • Role play how she should handle herself when someone takes the crayon she was about to use or grabs the ball she wanted to play with, showing her how to ask to use it next, while acknowledging the frustration of not getting it right now.
  • Help him develop a vocabulary with which he can express himself when he feels the ‘volcano’ in his belly (frustration, anger) is about to ‘blow’. Encourage him to identify the feelings in his body – sweaty palms, gurgly stomach – that signal he’s about to do something that may get him into trouble.
  • Give her the chance to do the things she enjoys and is good at. Often, an ADHD child is very creative and/or physical, and the build-up of doing desk work can make it extremely difficult to manage their behaviour for hours on end. Whether it’s after-school art classes or playtime at the park, make sure she gets to do the things she loves!