non-drug strategies for parenting ADHD kids?
Does anyone have any personal experience, either first-hand or otherwise, with parenting ADHD kids, specifically, helping them to focus better, sit still, behave in class, and so on? Maybe this means changing the diet, ways of speaking with the child(ren), new activities for them, etc. My friend is desperately looking for answers so she can help her 4-year-old before he goes into kindergarten.
barry jennings answers:
There are lots of things you can do to help a young ADHD kid, it will be slow progress at this age but the good news is that the things you do now will have a huge impact on their ADHD in a few years.
DIET – Diet plays a huge role because what you eat effects the activity in your brain. ADHD kids should stick to a high protein and low carbohydrate diet in order to help their brains function optimally.
Avoid any foods with preservatives (especially breads and pastries), colors (even natural colors), flavors, flavor enhancers, and other addititves as these foods further affect the brains ability to function. Soda’s and candy should be avoided totally.
Also make sure he eats frequently. Low blood sugar can make behaviors and concentration much worse as well. Small frequent meals are better.
EXERSIZE – Exersize also polays a huge role in an ADHD kids ability to function. ADHD kids need at least 30 minutes of high energy exersize every single day to best manage their condition. At the agee of 4 sports like swimming, gymnastics, dance and martial arts are best and these sports accept young kids. On days that he does not do sport a bike ride or walk should be in the daily routine.
A little exersize before school helps. If you have time walk to school or have him kick a bal;l around at home before you leave to optimise his concentration levels at school.
BEHAVIOR MANAGMENT – Kids with ADHD need very firm boundaries and rules. Make the house rules very clear. Avoid giving a lot of warnings when he is naughty. Kids with ADHD struggle to learn from the consequenmces of their actions so the consequences need to be very clear and obvious. You do need to be stricter with an ADHD kid than a regular kid but in the end it will give him a much happier life.
If he misbehaves use the three step proceedure.
Step 1 – awareness – the first time you see him misbehaving correct hios behavior, often he is unaware what he is doing wrong. Try to phrase it in a positive way as something he can do rather than something he has to stop. Because ADHD kids have very poor brakes. EG Johnny sit down on the sofa rather than Johnny stop jumping on the sofa.
Step 2 – The warning. If he does not comply with in 5 seconds of step 1 issue a warning. IE “Johnny sit queitly on the sofa or you will go and sit in time out”. It is impoirtant to move quickly from actions to consequences, if you let him get away with it for too long he will lose the flow and not learn from it.
Step 3 – Consequence. If he does not comply within 5 seconds of his warning iossue a consequence. Time out is best for ADHD kids as they hate to sit still and have a very low tolerance of boredom. It also works very well to help them calm down when they are overstimulated and gives them a chance to put all tthe pieces together and understand what they did wrong.
Time out should be in a boring place like a chair or in the corner. And it should be shorter for an ADHD child than a normal child. They reccomend for a normal child 1 minute for each year of age for ADHD 30 seconds for each year of age is better.
Mkae sure you use the same consequences EVERY single time he misbehaves. ADHD kids dont consider the consequences of their actions so they need them to be very consistent. If you change the consequence each time he will play up just to see what you will do next. If it is always the same consequence it will become borning and predicatble and his behavior will improve. Never ignore bad behavior always make sure there is a consequence.
REWARD – ADHD kids respond very well to praise and reward. But like punishments it must be immediate. Use lots of praise and posisitve attention for good behavior and make positive attention easy to earn or he will stick with the negative stuff.
HOLD BACK – It is often a good idea to hold an ADHD kid back a year (or even two if they are one of the youngest in their class). ADHD kids struggle to focus on their work, keep up socially and emotionally. It can be ideal to start them in school a year later or have them repeat a year so they are slightly older than their peers. It makes it much easier for them to learn as their attention span is that of a younger child and they fit in better socially. Even very bright ADHD kids beneift from this, because they may be bright enough to do the work but they havent got the focus so it doesnt happen. But when held back they tend to shine.
Things went better than I thought they would today!?
I saw my therapist and I finally told her my secret. I told her everything. About the pseudephed the diet pills the diagnoses ADHD as a child and the suspected ADHD on top of my already diagnosed depression. I didnt even have to give her the letter that I had written in case I pussed out! She wass so understanding and she just listened and asked a few questions regarding the way I have been as far as attention and so forth. She thinks that I probably have the Hyperactivity pretty much under control, but she wants me to get to the doc to get an ADHD med to see if it helps. Its a “working diagnosis” since ADHD is so hard to actually diagnose. She is worried that I cant get an appointment sooner since I have had the urge to self medicate again, but thinks I should be able to handle it. If not She said that we will figure out a way to see and pay for a psychiatrists appt. I am just so relieved. Do they prescribe ADHD meds if you only have a “working” diagnosis?
barry jennings answers:
Some doctors will prescribe ADHD meds on a “working” diagnosis because they don’t want to drag the process out any longer than it has to be. Your therapist’s number one concern is your well-being, and she obviously believes it’s wiser to start you on meds now and see how they work as opposed to referring you to a psychiatrist and then having you jump through all the hoops there (like the WAIS-R test, which is usually a follow-up appointment) and then have to wait another few weeks or months to get on meds when she’s reasonably sure ADHD is the problem. Hopefully you’ll get on the meds and you’ll see a marked improvment within a few days, but if you encounter any strange problems that could be side effects of the medication you need to call your therapist and report it IMMEDIATELY. Chances are slim to none that you’ll have a problem, but don’t chance it. Be sure to tell your therapist about any physical, mental, or emotional changes that occur after you start taking the meds.
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