By Dr. Peter Klapper Ph.D.
Let’s face it, kids are full of energy. They’re busy little humans. At times, it can seem like it’s hard to get them to pay attention for even a second, but when is their level of attention a problem? Today, more than 6.1 million children aged 2-17 years old in the United States suffer with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) making it a struggle for them to thrive in social and learning environments. However, while ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, there are strategies and ways to help parents and children cope with it.
But first, how can you spot ADHD in your child?
As we said above, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts the part of the brain that helps us focus, plan and execute tasks. For children, that can come across as the child being easily distracted, forgetful in daily activities, hyperactive or frankly, not listening when someone speaks.
ADHD is diagnosed in three different types, Inattentive, Hyperactive/Impulsive and Combined Type. For a child to be classified in one of these three types, they need to have six or more symptoms of the disorder present.
- Struggles to pay attention to detail
- Makes careless mistakes
- Doesn’t listen to someone speaking
- Is easily distracted
- Loses things and is forgetful
- Forgetful in daily activities
- Avoids tasks that involve making a concerted effort
- Struggles to stay organized
- Can’t follow through with instructions
- Talks excessively
- Talks out of turn (blurting out)
- Interrupts others
- Struggles with waiting or taking turns
- Running or climbing at inappropriate times
- Acts as if they’re driven by a motor (always on the go)
- Fidgets and squirms
- Can’t sit still and needs to get up once seated
As stated above, this individual would have symptoms and meet the criteria from both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive types.
Parenting Tips for Your ADHD Child
Once you have determined your child is suffering from ADHD, I’m sure you’re wondering what you can do to help them manage. We’ve provided a few tips below.
Structure and Routine
Structure and staying in a recognizable routine is crucial. Children with ADHD might struggle with staying organized or completing tasks, so predictability can be a game changer. As a parent, it’s important for you to be able to create structure and routines in your home, so your child is not only aware of what to expect but what they are in turn expected to do.
Many times, children with ADHD are often criticized for their negative behaviors, and their positive behaviors are missed. Praise and rewards are a good way to show your child that you appreciate them following rules and listening. Plus, positive reinforcement is a good way to encourage that desired behavior in the future.
Physical activity has a lot of benefits for children with ADHD, especially because so many have extra energy to burn. However, it’s important to find a sport that is constant with motion such as hockey, basketball, and soccer and avoid sports that have more “down time” like golf or baseball.
A Good Night’s Rest
Sleep is important for anyone, but even more so for children with ADHD. Children need X amount of sleep each night, and a better night’s rest in turn results in less ADHD symptoms. If your child struggles to fall asleep or wakes frequently, try our natural approach, "Sleep Well for Kids". Simply apply this calming blend on the chest or back of the neck before bedtime and your child will quickly relax and enjoy a deep restful sleep.
Of course, medication and prescriptions such as Adderall or Ritalin can be an option for your child, but many find themselves weighing the side effects they may take on your child versus the desired outcome. Stimulants can cause a range of side effects, such as appetite suppression, weight loss, headaches, difficulty falling asleep and potentially stunting a child’s growth.
If prescriptions don’t sit right with you, think about trying a natural treatment to help combat your child’s ADHD symptoms such as our “Calm Mood For Kids.” This natural approach helps manage and ease mood swings and irritability in children. It allows them to feel calm without harmful side effects. This certified organic, natural, and homeopathic medicine is safe and effective to reduce anxiety, stress, and worry. It can help ease over-excited minds.