Helping your child when they are young is the best way to get them to learn to control their ADHD rather than it controlling them. By making it fun and exciting, you can teach your child to control the reaction to their racing thoughts without harsh medication side effects.
My sons were diagnosed with ADHD when they were 3 and 4. I know, it sounds young to get this diagnosis, but trust me, their symptoms were obvious. It turns out that my 3 year old had the worst case of ADHD that their doctor had ever seen, and trust me it wasn’t a label, it was a fact.
My 4-year old’s attention span frustrated him. He wanted to focus on things he wanted to do, but the racing thoughts in his head caused emotional outbursts 5 to 6 times per day. It was unbearable to watch him so upset all the time and it was unnerving, to say the least, to hear him scream out of frustration constantly.
My 3-year old was the worst by far. His attention span led to injuries. I am not talking about typical 3 year old bumps and bruises either. I am talking about a broken nose, fractured ankle, deep bruise on his chest, dislocated wrist, and many others. These injuries were caused by him doing typical every day activities, such as running through the yard, and then BAM, emergency room.
The worst of the injury was his chest. He was running through the yard, forgot what he was doing and slammed into the wheelbarrow handle full force. As you can imagine, I was desperate to find something that would control it without “dosing my kids.”
Here is what worked for them:
Red light Green Light: This is a fun game for kids of all ages. For those of you who have not heard of it, you let your child go about his everyday activities and surprise him on occasion by saying “red light.” At this point, he has to freeze and stop all movement. When you feel they have gained their composure, you say “green light.” This lets them know they can begin moving again.
It is a great way to remove the mental stimuli that is causing them to become frustrated and gives them a moment to clear their head.
Simon Says: Simon says makes them think things trough before they act. This is a great way to help your child learn to think out their actions before they carry them out.
Mother May I: This is a great way to make your child think through directions before acting upon them. It also builds great manners over time if you do it right.
It is important to remember that every child with ADHD needs quiet time. Having them play in their room with their toys is a great way to do this. I keep a CD player in the hall way and have the kids play in their own rooms while I cook supper.
When supper is almost finished, I go up and turn on the CD player. Regardless of what music I play, they know that the music means it is time to clean up. This is so much easier on their personal time and their thought process. It lets them know that by the end of the song, their toys should be cleaned up and they should wash up for supper.
The key is not to make them jump from one thing to another, you must give their minds time to transition from one task to another without a sudden jolt.
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