I thought that it would be a good idea to share with you some of the things that have helped us in our house as they may work in your house to. Some of these tips are not guaranteed to work every time as I have found out but it is important to keep trying, and if something isn’t working then alter it or change it completely. Hopefully you will find these useful!!
Routine is important for any child but especially so for our ADHD children. They don’t much like change and don’t really handle not knowing very well. so make sure you have routines in place. You could do up night and day routine boards that explain and show what’s next. You can even have a routine board that shows your child what they have on each day. Example: if you child has both kindy and childcare through the week, you can display what days they are at kindy and what days they are at childcare. This way, when they are you can both go to the board and be like see here you have childcare tomorrow. You know what get your child to help you make the boards up, can be a fun activity to do together. Sometimes things pop up that aren’t part of our routines and this can cause some issues, which brings me to my next tip.
2. Prep work
I don’t know about your children but I know that my gifted boy loves to have things planned and sometimes comes up with his own. if things don’t go to “plan” then cue meltdown. to avoid this, its always good to do prep work with them. Try and give them notice of what is happening so they have enough time to process it. So if you have lunch plans at grandma’s house on the weekend, let them know during the week and give them a couple of reminders as it gets closer…. one way we keep track (because time works a bit differently for adhders) is by counting down the sleeps. But if that plan changes let them know as soon as you can and explain why the plan isn’t happening anymore. Tell them what you will be doing instead of seeing grandma. “Hey kids grandma had to cancel lunch, she wasn’t feel well…. so guess what we are going to the beach instead. who wants to count down the sleeps til we go to the beach!!”
3. Big movements
Staying still is not a skill that a lot of people with ADHD have. It has got to be hard having all this energy inside you and not knowing how to let it out in appropriate ways. Allocate time during the day for them to do high energy activities such as build an obstacle course and get them to run around and go through it. Trampolines are fantastic for big movements. let them have a good bounce on there may play a game with them. The boys love it when I throw balls in there and they throw them back (all while they are jumping around) and make mum run for them lol!!
4. Get those wiggles out
If they are sitting there getting bored or fidgety, or may its too cold outside then do stuff inside that is going to help them get their wiggles out. They way we do this in our house in our house is by chucking some kids songs on and some everyday music…… then we ALL dance around and be silly together. This is a relatively quick activity but very effective to get the wiggles and fidgets out. After around 10 minutes so they have burnt their energy and are ready for some down time.
5. Quiet time
Just like it is important to help them burn their energy, it is also important to make sure they have down time or quiet time. Just like us they need time to relax too. whether its some quiet sensory play, story time or TV time. Sometimes in the process of burning energy their excitement levels overflow and may need to calm down a little before things get a bit too silly. Sit down with them and read a story or enjoy a movie with them. My boys have both come to love quiet time.
6. Belly breathing
When the meltdown starts to happen or even after its started, try getting your child to belly breathing. Belly breathing is just deep breathing. This is a good calming technic to help get your child to focus on something else and stop them from reaching the point of unregulated emotions. My boy responded really well to this technic and it has helped him come back down before reaching over the top. I tell him to put his hands on his belly and try to get his belly to move as he slowly breathes in and out.
7. Stay calm yourself
This one is sometimes the hardest to remember!!! especially if your reaching the end of your tether. But by remaining calm you are not adding fuel to their fire. Using a lower tone and volume will always be more effective. it may feel like there is no way they can hear you over there own noise. But trust me they take in more than we think. If you are struggling to help them see reason or they are refusing to see reason, then try telling them that you are here when they need and go take a minute or two for yourself. If on your return you are not making progress then take 2 minutes and again tell them you are here when they need. Eventually they will come to you to talk, be willing to talk when you approach them or may even be more receptive to just a hug. I found this one hard as I felt horrible leaving a room while my darling was dealing with such big emotions. But I pushed through that and now we have a fairly good line of communication!!!
I hope that some of these tips are helpful. I would definitely love some feedback. These are not sure “fixes” they are just things that can make things just a little bit easier.
Kids aren’t born with how to guides, ADHD or otherwise. we all do our very best but sometimes we can all use a helping hand a long the way.