Believe it or not, having ADHD can be a fantastic blessing. There are many sports stars, Nobel prize winners and talented achievers who have ADHD and some even say that having ADHD actually helped them.
Parenting a Child with ADHD
However, parenting a kid with ADHD can be a totally different matter. Common parenting advice and activities are often created for children who are not challenged by the same things that kids with ADHD are.
Often, the parenting journey can feel like a lonely and isolated one. Resources and support may be hard to come by. You have to be creative to adapt your child to situations which may not normally be a problem for kids without ADHD. On top of this, you may feel judged by other strangers who probably don’t realize that your kid has ADHD or don’t understand it.
Characteristics of Kids with ADHD
ADHD can be divided into three main types:
- Inattentive or easily distracted
- Hyperactive or impulsive
- A combination of 1 and 2.
The inattentive ADHD child tends to lose focus easily and appear not to be listening. The hyperactive ADHD child is the one who cannot sit still and is bouncing off the walls. The combination ADHD child can be all of these.
Although kids with ADHD can vary in their severity, behavior and symptoms, ADHD kids often display some of these characteristics that impact their daily life:
- Try to do several things at once
- Struggle to pay attention
- Excessive energy
- Cannot pay attention to mundane tasks
- Don’t seem to be listening when spoken to
- Talks nonstop
- Cannot sit still, fidgety or squirms
- Difficulty in following instructions
- Doesn’t pay attention to details or careless
- Cannot stay organized or plan ahead
- Stares off into space a lot
- Struggle with concentrating
- Cannot wait for their turn
- Temper tantrums or outbursts of anger
- Can’t complete tasks
On the other hand, kids with ADHD also can display a lot of positive characteristics including these:
- Great drive
- Stand out
- Ability to think outside of the box
- Intellectual or artistic gifts
To parent a kid with ADHD, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your parenting that will greatly help you. Here are some:
- Try to provide calm and quiet environments for your child as much as possible
- When you need your child to focus on something, try to ensure that there are no distractions
- Create structure and schedules
- Use familiar routines and checklists
- Communicate clear expectations and use chore charts
- Practice role-plays to teach your child preferred responses and behavior
- Consider behavior therapy.
10 Best Activities for Kids with ADHD
Just like some activities will appeal more to other kids but may not necessarily appeal to all children, it’s a great idea to give something a try with your child and not push it if he or she doesn’t like it. Having said that, it’s worth revisiting the activity later on again as just like toys, some children will hate a toy initially and then find interest in it later on as they develop.
Outdoor Activities for ADHD Kids
Outdoor activities are fantastic for kids with ADHD because it gives them space, freedom and an opportunity to use all that energy.
Michael Phelps, who has ADHD, is one of the most amazing swimmers of our time. Swimming was obviously a great outlet for his energy and drive.
The great thing about playgrounds is that they are easy to find and accessible at all times of the day. If your kid needs to burn off some energy, a playground will provide a combination of activities for him or her to do. Your child can choose to play alone or with others too.
Cycling is another great activity that allows your child to be active as well as learn to focus. Unlike team sports, there are no real rules and if you bring your child to a large park with safe pathways, your child won’t have to wait for traffic lights to change or anything like that. There is enough changing scenery for your child to stay interested too.
Hiking provides the opportunity to be in a peaceful environment as well as the opportunity to teach attention to details, such as looking at plants, flowers and insects. There is also the freedom to go faster or slow down and explore different things along your hike.
- Jogging or running
Similar to hiking but you are obviously going at a quicker pace and burning a lot more energy. It would be helpful if you are pretty fit yourself so that you can keep up!
Indoor Activities Outside the Home for ADHD Kids
- Bounce play centers
Bounce play centers are normally paid indoor centers that provide several inflatable structures that are safe for children to jump on to their hearts content.
- Trampoline parks
Similar to bounce play centers but instead of inflatable structures, you will find tons of trampolines.
- Drama classes
There seems to be many famous ADHD adults who are in the entertainment industry, including Jim Carrey and Will Smith. Perhaps the creativity, enthusiasm and energy that comes from having ADHD makes them more interesting and appealing entertainers?
- Singing and dancing classes
Just like drama, there are singers with ADHD who are doing well in the entertainment industry such as Justin Timberlake.
Many ADHD kids can excel in sports because of their drive and energy. Sports can be a great way to help your child increase his or her ability to build social skills, listen to instructions or wait for turns. However, if your child is not yet ready for the leap into a team sport, you can choose other kinds of sports that are based on individual play such as badminton, tennis and squash.
Enjoy the Parenting Journey
As with most things in life, it’s a matter of perspective on whether something is a curse or a blessing. Although it will be challenging for you as a parent, it may a great blessing for your child to have ADHD. In any case, enjoy your parenting journey. Just like any other parent, you will have fantastic days and days where you wished you could just stay in bed.