Parenting a kid with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be a difficult challenge. Even though it can be frustrating and overwhelming, there are a lot of things parents can do to reduce symptoms and take control of kids. As a parent, you can help your kid to overcome daily challenges, steer their energy in the right direction and bring peace of mind to your family. Earlier you address your kid`s behavioral problems, the greater chances they will have for successful life.
Signs of ADHD in Toddlers
The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be noticed in toddlers from a young age. The signs of ADHD in toddlers are:
- Problems with sleeping and napping
- Hyperactivity or higher level of activity than a typical child
- Difficulties with transitioning from one activity to the other
- Inattention (this sign is detectable when the child goes to school)
Doctors treat ADHD with medication only when kids are at least 5 years old, except in cases when they pose a danger to themselves or other people. If your kid is younger than 5, these alternative types of treatment may come in handy:
- Find alternatives that soothe your kid
The noisy environment like a shopping center or crowded park can make a hyperactive child calm. To some ADHD toddlers, classical music can be shooting, while others settle down with hip-hop or even rock. Test it and figure out what is better for your toddler.
- Engage in physical activities
Before leaving the house engage your kid in a physically intensive game or any other activity to decrease their energy level before going to the restaurant or someone’s else house.
ADHD toddlers: Do’s and don’ts
In general, ADHD kids have deficits in executive function. They are not able to think and plan ahead, control their impulses, complete tasks or organize things. It means that their parents always need to keep their eyes wide open and provide extra guidance until their children acquire executive skills on their own.
Raising a kid with ADHD may be difficult, and sometimes even frustrating. For parents, it is essential to learn behavioral techniques to know how to deal with ADHD toddlers. Follow the guidelines below to manage your kid`s ADHD symptoms and improve their behavior.
Do`s to deal with ADHD kids
The behavior management therapy includes two fundamental principles: 1) Encouraging and rewarding good behavior; 2) Removing rewards due to bad behavior. These two principles should be followed in every area of your kid`s life: school, home, Internet, etc. Making the rules and providing clear consequences for following or disobeying them, you teach your kid to understand that all actions have consequences. Here are some tips that will help:
- Decide what behavior is acceptable and which is not
The aim of the behavioral modification is to help your kid to understand the consequences of their actions and control the impulses to act on it. That’s why parents need to show empathy, patience, affection, and strength. Firstly, parents should decide what kind of behavior they will and won’t tolerate. Secondly, they should stick to these guidelines. If you punish a kid for bad behavior and then allowing it the next day, it will not make any improvements, only will make matters worse.
- Keep your kid busy
As for ADHD kids, idle time can aggravate their symptoms and cause chaos in your house. Try to keep your ADHD kid busy without pilling so many things that can make your kid overwhelmed.
You can sign your kid up for sports, art classes or music lessons. When your kid is at home, try to fill up your kid`s free time, organizing simple activities. For instance, help to prepare dinner, play a board game with siblings, draw a picture, etc. Don`t use video games, Internet, or TV as time-fillers. They may only make your kid`s ADHD symptoms worse.
- Allow some flexibility
Without doubts, as a parent, you need to do your best in order to reward good behaviors and discourage the destructive ones. But you shouldn’t be very strict with your kid. Don’t discourage your kid`s quirky behaviors because you think they are unusual. Unusual behavior that doesn`t pose any danger to your kid or anyone else should be treated as a part of your kid`s individual personality.
- Manage aggression
Outbursts of anger is a common problem among ADHD kids. If your child acts out in public, they should be instantly removed calmly and decisively. Give your kid a time to cool off and think about the negative behavior they exhibited. Keep in mind that adverse, negative reaction that goes against your rules always should be punished.
- Create structure
Establish rules around your kid`s daily routine: meal, playtime, homework, bedtime, etc. Having such simple tasks as laying out clothes or packing a backpack for the next day can provide essential structure.
- Divide tasks into manageable pieces
Use a large wall calendar to help your kid to cope with their duties. It will help to moderate their duties and school assignments, keeping your kid from becoming overwhelmed.
- Create distraction-free zone
Provide your ADHD kid with comfortable space for reading, doing homework and having a break after an everyday routine. To reduce unnecessary distractions, keep your home neat and well-organized so your kid can always find things they need.
- Limit distractions
Television, video games, Internet and other similar activities provoke impulsive behavior. That’s why parents need to decrease their ADHD kids screen time and increase the time for outdoor activities, giving a kid a possibility to diminish their hyperactivity level.
- Encourage exercises
Physical activities help to burn the excessive energy level naturally. It can decrease ADHD toddler impulsivity, improve concentration, decrease anxiety, risks for depression and also promote the brain stimulation.
- Regulate sleep patterns
For parents with ADHD toddlers, it may be extremely difficult to put them to sleep. Sleep deprivation provokes inattention, hyperactivity, and recklessness. Eliminating such stimulants as sugar or caffeine and decreasing screen time may promote healthy and calm bedtime ritual.
- Encourage out-loud thinking
ADHD toddlers have problems with self-control, consequently, this can make them speak and act without thinking. Ask your kid to verbalize their thoughts and reasons when the need to act out appears. It will help to understand your kid`s impulsive behaviors and way of thinking.
- Promote waiting and patience
Teach your kid how to pause a moment before answering or talking. It will help to control the impulses of your ADHD toddler. Help your kid with homework assignments, encouraging more thoughtful responses or ask interactive questions about a favorite TV show or cartoon.
- Believe in your kid
Praise your kid`s good behavior so they know that something is done right. Even if your toddler has ADHD now, it will not last forever. Be positive about your kid`s future and have strong confidence in your kid.
- Find individualized counseling
Dealing with ADHD toddler only by your own may be challenging. Apart from your encouragement, support, and understanding, they also need professional help. A therapist will help to manage not only your kid`s stress and anxiety, but will also help you to deal with ADHD toddler.
- Take breaks
Like your kid needs breaks during studying process, you need your breaks as well. For example, you can go for a walk, gym or take a relaxing bath. For parents, it is also essential to have a rest staying alone from time to time.
- Calm yourself
If you are aggravated, you can’t deal with impulsive ADHD toddler. Kids mimic the behaviors they see around them, so if you are cool and calm during the outburst, your kid will do the same. Remember the calmer you are, the calmer your kid will be.
Don’ts to deal with ADHD kids
Here is the list of things you shouldn’t do dealing with ADHD toddler:
- Don`t take small stuff into account
Dealing with ADHD toddler be ready to make compromises. If your kid has accomplished two out of three chores assigned by you, consider being flexible with the third even if it is not completed yet.
- Don`t get overwhelmed
Don`t forget that your kid`s hyperactive behavior is caused by the disorder, which requires special treatment. As a parent, you need not only follow the principles of behavior management therapy but also control yourself and your emotions.
- Don`t be negative
Stay positive and remember that all problems are only temporary. That causes makes you stressful or embarrassed will fade away tomorrow.
- Don`t let your child or disorder to take control
Remember that you are a parent and it is you who establish rules and acceptable behavior in your home. Don’t allow your kid or ADHD disorder to keep control over a situation.
How technology can help to deal with ADHD toddlers?
Nowadays there is a great number of parental controls that can help to deal with tech-addiction and minimize online risks, for instance, Kidgy. But is it applicable to the ADHD toddlers? Follow the reasons to know why parents with ADHD toddlers should install Kidgy.
Reason 1. Manage tech-addiction
The tech-addiction comes with a device overuse. In comparison with typical kids, ADHD children have lower chances to become addicted, as they can’t concentrate on one thing for a long time. Nevertheless, the dopamine, a hormone responsible for pleasure and emotions, can confuse real and fake ones. Thus, a kid can plunge deeply into the cyber world and stay there for a long time. In this case, Kidgy may come in handy to manage apps usage, moderate online surfing and limit screen time for sleep and school hours.
Reason 2. Keep an eye on kid`s online activities
Talking about online risks, parents should supervise people, events, information and content their kids deal with. Using Kidgy low-cost cyber nanny, parents can get more information concerning their ADHD kids Internet usage and correct it in case of need.
Reason 3. Track the current GPS location
Tracking the real-time GPS location can be very helpful for parents with ADHD toddlers. If children are used to messing around, running away due to compulsiveness and irritation, or there is a hit of epilepsy, current GPS location, and geo-fencing monitoring is a must.
Reason 4. Awareness of the activity
The other features that will be helpful for parents with ADHD toddlers are Keylogger and Keywords alerts. These features will help to capture every keystroke on kid`s device and set a list of dangerous words.
Parenting a kid with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be difficult for parents, as such kids are in a constant state of activity. Also, they may have problems with understanding important directions. In our article, we gave you a list of things parents should and shouldn’t do raising a kid with ADHD.
ADHD kids need clear-cut rules they will understand and follow. As for parents, they need to learn how to use stress management methods, increase their tolerance for frustration and respond calmly to their kid`s behavior.