Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
In this Article
- What is ADHD?
- What are the symptoms of ADHD?
- What should I do if I am concerned that my child might have ADHD?
- What are some behavioral treatments and parenting strategies for parents of children with ADHD?
- Think positively
- Define schedules and routines
- Set clear rules and expectations
- Give clear instructions
- Discipline, rewards, and consequences
- Use time-out effectively
- Ignore, within reason
- Develop organizational aids
- Eliminate distractions
- Set small, attainable goals
- Focus on one or two challenging behaviors at a time
- Find areas in which the child excels
- Promote a healthy lifestyle
- Show your unconditional love
- Take care of yourself
- ADHD resources
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
Define schedules and routines
Clearly defined, while not rigid, schedules and routines are essential for children (as well as for teens and adults) with ADHD. Having an established, while not inflexible, pattern for getting ready in the mornings, preparing for bedtime, and managing after school homework and activities provides a sense of consistency and allows the child to know what to expect. It is also easier for the child to remember and follow rules and routines when these do not vary very often. It can be helpful for older children to have plenty of conspicuous clocks to use as cues for time management. Some parents find that the use of timers (for homework time, time to finish up play, etc.) helps for younger children.
To make the process more enjoyable or easier to remember, charts and checklists can be used that list the steps or tasks required for each time of day. For example, the "morning checklist" can include items like making the bed, brushing teeth, and helping prepare school lunch. Hang the checklists in a conspicuous place and allow your child to check off completed items as they are done, if he/she wishes.
Set clear rules and expectations
As with clearly defined schedules, attainable, clearly defined rules and expectations are also essential for kids with ADHD. In both school and at home, children with ADHD need a consistent and clearly defined set of rules. It can be helpful to create a list of rules for the home and post them in a place where the child can easily see them. It's very important to stick to the rules and provide fair and consistent rewards and consequences (see below) when the household rules are not followed.
Next: Give clear instructions
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