How to Help When Your Child Has ADHD

a person holding a book

When you’re a parent, it’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a problem in your child that you can’t seem to fix. If you’re worried your kid might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, here’s what you can do about it.

Recognize the Symptoms of ADHD

First, make sure you’re accurately recognizing the symptoms of ADHD. Many children experience some ADHD symptoms (and some of the symptoms are simply child-like behavior), so it can be a challenge to make a diagnose. Be on the lookout for a few warning signs that you can bring up with your doctor so he or she can make a diagnose of ADHD if needed. If your son or daughter is constantly interrupting you, struggles with patience, has angry outbursts, fidgets, leaves tasks unfinished, or makes careless mistakes, he or she may have ADHD.

Most likely, if your child struggles with any of this at home, he or she will also struggle with it at school if it is ADHD. Your child’s teacher is a great person to ask about ADHD symptoms in the classroom. If you notice these symptoms in multiple settings and they aren’t going away with age, it might be time to bring your kid to the doctor for a diagnosis. Alternatively, if your son or daughter just fidgets when asked to sit still in church, it’s most likely not ADHD.


Consider Therapy and Medication

If you’ve been to the doctor and he or she has made a diagnosis for your kid, look into getting him or her a therapist for ADHD. A therapist can develop a personalized treatment plan consisting of ADHD medication and cognitive behavior therapy specific to your child’s needs. These treatment options can help improve your kid’s self-esteem, social skills, and good behavior. Medication helps a child’s brain balance dopamine (which blocks distractions) and norepinephrine (which improves focus).

The right dose of an ADHD med will restore your son’s or daughter’s chemical balance and decrease symptoms of the disorder. If you’ve implemented therapy and medication and would like to do more, try using a few simple strategies at home and school. Give your child checklists for tasks that need to get done, so he or she can visualize every step. A planner will help him or her keep track of assignments, and using a rewards chart at home will motivate your child to tackle chores or learn new skills. Understanding the symptoms of ADHD and what you can do to help young children work through it is the first step in giving your child a normal life.


Find Something to Do Together

When your kid has difficulty focusing, it can be challenging to find something to do together. He or she might not be able to watch a movie or read a book with you. Remember to be patient with your child. He or she most likely feels out of control and might become frustrated if you lose your patience. Let your kid know that you accept him for who he is and find a fun activity that you can do together to keep him occupied. A child with ADHD will enjoy doing something active and fun.

Many parents try to put these children into sports, but a team sport like soccer can be tough for kids with ADHD because they can’t focus long enough to know where the ball is or what the score is. Instead, put your child into martial arts or swimming. Learn what you can about ADHD and how to interact with your child. Give her the support she needs and you’ll find it easy to connect and bond.