Parenting is no easy feat, and the responsibility is made even more strenuous when your child suffers from Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD are characterized by a myriad of symptoms that make daily functioning difficult, such as impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. It is often a challenge for parents to regulate their children who are afflicted with the disorder. Therefore, it is quite common to become frustrated when trying to apply parenting measures that would typically work for other children and seeing ineffective results. Although it may feel hopeless at times, as a parent, there are actually many things you can do to help make the symptoms more manageable. Realizing that you have the power to help your child overcome daily challenges can significantly reduce the stress for you and your family. The key is to address the problems early and to implement the strategies consistently. In the next few months, we will offer a series of themed tips aimed to facilitate your management of your child’s symptoms. This month, we will focus on the importance of incorporating structure and organization in the tasks your child undertakes.
Children with ADHD exhibit disorganized behavior; they often have trouble completing tasks. Instilling structure in tasks will therefore make it more likely for your child to finish them. As the parent, your job is to maintain predictable patterns in the tasks to be taken on by your child. The following are some tips for you to consider in helping your child to stay focused and organized in completing the tasks.
Tip 1: Plan daily routines
It is extremely important for children with ADHD to have structure in their lives so that they know what to expect and what they are expected to accomplish. Set up routines for different aspects of the home life, such as chores, homework, and bedtime, to make them more predictable. For example, asking your child to set up the table can be part of the daily dinner ritual.
Tip 2: Simplify schedules
Children with ADHD can easily fall prey to distractions. Therefore, it is important to make their schedules and routines as simple as possible. Break complex tasks into components will make them more manageable for your child. Also, it may be necessary to adjust your child’s daily schedules. Consider cutting back on extra-curricular activities and individualizing commitments according to your child’s abilities and interests.
Tip 3: Use organizational tools
Consider using organizational tools such as agendas, daily planners, and calendars to make your child’s tasks more concrete. Placing more clocks around the house in highly-visible places will also serve as a constant reminder to your child. Using a timer during transitional times (e.g., taking a bath before getting ready for bed) will make the tasks more transparent and easier to follow as well.
Tip 4: Provide a ‘private/quiet’ zone
Giving your child a private and quiet place to call their own can work wonders in bringing calm to erratic behavior. This place does not have to be a bedroom, but any comfortable place that is relatively quiet and private, such as a nook, will do. Just make sure that the space is dedicated solely and specifically for your child’s private and quiet time.
Tip 5: Be organized yourself
Be neat and organized in your home management, and make sure your child knows that everything has its place. In addition, try to set an example of organization and structure for your child to follow suit. Remember that as the parent, you are the key role model for your child.
Establishing organization and structure in the daily lives of children with ADHD will significantly increase their chances of completing the tasks. As the parent, you can help extend the success to areas outside the home by working with professionals such as child psychologists. To see how a child psychologist can help improve your child’s behavioral success in school and in the local Edmonton community, please refer to our services page.