Things You Can Do At Home To Help Your Child With ADHD Succeed In School
If you're like many parents who are struggling to understand their child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), one of your major concerns is that your child will find that functioning in an academic environment is overly challenging. Fortunately, there are strategies available for parents in your situation designed to help them help their kids succeed in school. Following are four of them.
Make Sure Your Child Gets Lots of Exercise
All children require abundant exercise to ensure proper development of muscles and motor skills, but those with ADHD may need it even more than others because it helps them release excess energy. Kids with ADHD are generally restless and fidgety, making it difficult for them to sit still for very long in classroom situations. Getting an adequate amount of exercise has been shown to improve focus, decrease impulsive behavior, and promote the development of positive social skills.
Experts recommend that children with ADHD receive at least one hour per day of moderate to heavy exercise. Keep in mind that it may take a certain degree of trial and error before you hit on an exercise regimen that suits the individual needs and preferences of your child. Some children, for instance, thrive in team environments while others do better in solitary sports, such as martial arts. It's also important that your child genuinely enjoys the activities -- otherwise, it just becomes one more obstacle for your child to overcome.
Expose Your Child to the Natural World
Evidence also suggests that kids with ADHD who spend time in nature experience greater degrees of calmness than their counterparts who don't spend much time outside. Being outside is a natural stress reliever, and kids who are exposed to nature on a regular basis have a good chance of developing a lifelong interest in the natural world. Outdoor activities that you can enjoy with your child include hiking, rafting, camping, rowing or canoeing on a serene lake, landscape painting, and picnicking. If you're a homeowner, you can also consider the benefits of creating a natural sanctuary on your own property.
Structure Homework Time
Most kids with ADHD do better in school when their study time at home has some fairly rigid structure instead of just leaving it up to them to complete their homework in their own time. Homework time should be roughly at the same time each day and, when possible, for the same length of time. You should set up a specific place for your child to do his schoolwork and be available to help if needed but otherwise non-intrusive so that the child can concentrate on the task at hand.
If your child is a tween or a teen with more than an hour's worth of homework on an average night, be sure to structure in small breaks during the course of the study period. However, you should make certain that the breaks involve moving around instead of simply watching television, playing a video game, or anything else involving screen time.
Learn to Manage Your Child's Screen Time
Evidence also suggests that too much screen time can be detrimental to children who struggle with ADHD. Because kids with this condition don't always make the best decisions regarding their personal usage of technology, it's important for parents to monitor their screen time to ensure that they don't go overboard. Playing video games or watching movies for hours on end, for instance, can seriously cut into the time that your child should be sleeping. Too much screen time also contributes to social isolation, which can be particularly detrimental to children with ADHD. Keep smartphones, laptops, and other devices out of your child's bedroom, and limit television and video games to common areas in the household.
These are just some ways to help you cope with ADHD in children.