Because ADHD is a complex disorder and each person with ADHD is unique, it's hard to make recommendations that are right for every child or adult. But some of the following suggestions may help:Children at home
- Show your child lots of affection. Children need to hear that they're loved and appreciated. Focusing only on the negative aspects of your child's behavior can harm your relationship with him or her and affect self-confidence and self-esteem. If your child has a hard time accepting verbal signs of affection, a smile, a pat on the shoulder or a hug can show you care.
- Be patient. Try to remain patient and calm when dealing with your child, even when your child is out of control. If you're calm, your child is more likely to calm down too.
- Keep things in perspective. Be realistic in your expectations for improvement — both your own and your child's.
- Take time to enjoy your child. Make an effort to accept and appreciate the parts of your child's personality that aren't so difficult. One of the best ways to do this is simply to spend time together. This should be a private time when no other children or adults interfere. Try to give your child more positive than negative attention every day.
- Try to keep a regular schedule for meals, naps and bedtime. Use a big calendar to mark special activities that will be coming up. Children with ADHD have a hard time accepting and adjusting to change.
- Make sure your child is rested. Try to keep your child from becoming overtired, because fatigue often makes symptoms of ADHD worse.
- Identify difficult situations. Try to avoid situations that are difficult for your child, such as sitting through long presentations or shopping in malls and supermarkets where the array of merchandise can be overwhelming.
- Use timeouts or the loss of a privilege to discipline your child. For children with ADHD, a timeout from social stimulation can be very effective. Timeouts should be relatively brief, but long enough for your child to regain control. The idea is to interrupt and defuse out-of-control behavior. A timeout doesn't work for everything, but many parents have found that it's one of the best tools for managing the behavior of an overactive or impulsive child.
- Work on organization. Help your child organize and maintain a daily assignment notebook and be sure your child has a quiet place to study.
- Find ways to enhance your child's self-esteem and sense of discipline. Children with ADHD often do very well with art projects, music or dance lessons, or martial arts classes, especially karate or tae kwon do. But don't force children into activities that are beyond their abilities.
- Use simple words and demonstrate when giving your child directions. Speak slowly and quietly and be very specific and concrete. Give one direction at a time. Stop and make eye contact with the child when giving directions.
- Take a break yourself. If you're exhausted and stressed, you're a much less.