By Leslie Lindsay
It’s always such a joy when I can host a lovely writer on my blog–one that brings a fresh new voice and approach to your world. Join us today as we delve into one of my favorite topics: managing life with a child with AD/HD. Whether it’s your own, or perhaps a student in your classroom, we can all benefit from learning a little more about how to understand this often mis-understood diagnosis. This comes to you from Kentucky a mother of two. Take it away, Vee!
The ADHD Parenting Checklist
Guest Blogger: Vee Cecil
The CDC estimates that about 11 percent of children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is a tricky condition to manage (and an even trickier one to diagnose), especially when it comes to your child. While there is no manual on how to conquer every challenge ADHD throws your way, here’s a checklist to ensure that as a parent, you’re providing a winning atmosphere for your child:
Make sure your child has a strong support system. ADHD can make even the most mundane tasks a challenge, so be his biggest fan. Don’t merely correct bad behavior, recognize and reward good behavior. Provide him a safe outlet to vent his frustrations, whether it’s with you, a sibling or even a canine companion. ADHD often causes people with the condition to feel isolated and detached from family and friends, so make sure your child knows you love and support him exactly how he is.
Keep your expectations in perspective. ADHD affects impulse control, focus, organization, and planning. It doesn’t mean you should “baby” your child or give him unfair advantages compared to his siblings; it merely means you may have to provide a few accommodations. It could be as simple as helping him create a list of exactly what needs to get done in order for his room to be “clean.” Instead of becoming frustrated if he struggles with a task, use the opportunity to figure out how he works best and embrace it.
Make sure communication is always clear. Use simple, direct language when giving your child instruction, but don’t be condescending. When a problem arises, ask your child what’s challenging him and come up with a solution together. Listen to him, and if he interrupts you while you’re speaking, calmly ask him to let you finish your thought. Come up with a nonverbal cue (like holding up two fingers) that can be used during arguments as a polite reminder to take turns speaking.
Don’t forget about the siblings. Educate your other children about ADHD so they can better understand their sibling. Establish house rules that apply to everyone, and clearly explain any accommodations for your child with ADHD. Don’t split time between the kids; instead, organize activities the entire family can enjoy together. Perhaps most importantly, let them all be kids. Don’t make your other children feel like they have to co-parent their sibling with ADHD, and don’t blame them if he misbehaves under their supervision.
Never underestimate your home’s aesthetics. Ensure that your entire home, especially your child’s bedroom, is kept neat and organized. It may even help to color code and label items with their rightful homes. Even your décor can make a difference: earth tones like greens and blues have been known to create a soothing atmosphere, especially when combined with serene artwork of natural scenes.
Parenting a child with ADHD is no small feat, but don’t forget to also take care of yourself. Set the example by eating right and exercising, even combining routines with your child. Work together and soon, this checklist will simply be your way of life!
Bio: Vee Cecil is a wellness coach and personal trainer. She is passionate about educating others on health and wellness topics via her blog. She lives with her husband and two children in Kentucky.
Follow along the Speaking of Apraxia Blog for more like this:
- Drs. Quinn and Nadeau talk about their new book, UNDERSTANDING GIRLS WITH AD/HD
- SAVAGE PARK: A Meditation on Play
- A BOY WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS. Raising a Son with AD/HD by Penny Williams
- Meet Penny Williams, AD/HD veteran Q&A
Coming up in April: Heather Shumaker’s new book, IT’S OKAY TO GO UP THE SLIDE (TarcherPerigee; March 8, 2016) and Adam Grant’s ORIGINALS: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Viking; February 2).