After noticing signs of inattention, impulsivity and even hyperactivity in your child, you have decided to consult a specialist to find out whether or not your child has Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADHD).
The diagnosis by the child psychiatrist or neuropaediatrician is positive and you’re worried? Don’t panic, your little one has superpowers! But to help him make the most of them and live a calmer everyday life, here are a few practical tips to adopt. Babaoo Mag has the facts for you! 💡
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect a child’s behaviour, learning and social relationships. With a brain that’s firing on all cylinders and brimming with ideas, your little protege is likely to struggle to stay focused, rarely finishing a project he or she has just started, and unable to get organised.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but these common symptoms of ADHD affect their daily lives and, if left unchecked, can have a detrimental effect on their development (and yours too! 😅). But in practical terms, what challenges does your child face and how can you help?
Children with ADHD often have difficulty managing their time and finding their way through the different activities of the day. You may recognise your son or daughter who takes nearly two hours every morning to wash, dress and eat breakfast, so many of these steps are interspersed with moments of distraction and wandering off.
Getting lost in their thoughts while brushing their teeth, getting distracted by an unimportant detail between two spoonfuls of cereal or trying out ever more daring knots when it comes to tying their shoes… Our little artists have no shortage of imagination! And if you were hoping to get to school on time, you’re in trouble! Although…
Routines and procedures generally help children with ADHD to focus less. By sequencing activities into clear, structured micro-tasks, you provide your child with a predictable and reassuring framework so that they know what you expect of them. Draw up a standard timetable covering the key activities of the day, such as getting up, eating, homework, playtime and bedtime.
For even greater efficiency, don’t hesitate to use visual reminders to help them plan their activities: a timeline, to-do lists or a wall calendar with pictures and colour codes will help them visualise the tasks to be carried out and in what order.
ADHD and activities presented in their entirety don’t mix! By breaking them down into more manageable micro-tasks, the process seems less overwhelming and more manageable.
For example, rather than asking him to do his homework, break down this block of activities into short, very concrete actions so that he can concentrate on one step at a time:
The same goes for tidying his room:
✏ Baba’Tips: the use of a stopwatch ⏱ or a small hourglass ⏳ can also help him better grasp the concept of time and remind him to move from one activity to another while adding a playful touch to the tasks in hand.
Concentration problems are one of the most common warning signs in children with ADHD. Their tendency to be easily distracted has a significant impact on their daily and social lives, as well as on their learning. Here are a few tips to boost your child’s concentration.
The first step to boosting your child’s concentration is to create a calm, orderly environment in which they can stay focused on their activities. When they’re doing their homework or DIY, for example, put them at a desk that’s organised and tidy, leaving only the materials they need for their activity.
Next, take care to eliminate any source of distraction likely to distract his attention:
They always say it’s easier to stay focused when you’re doing something you enjoy. It’s hard to distract yourself when you’re reading your favourite detective novel or devouring a crossword puzzle, isn’t it? Your little wolf is no exception to the rule.
He has to learn to count but can’t seem to stay involved? What if the dinosaurs he’s so keen on were your best allies? If “1 + 2 + 3” doesn’t inspire him, “1 T-Rex + 2 Triceratops + 3 Pterodactyls” will certainly pique his interest and keep his concentration. 🦖
Generally speaking, used as an anchor, games can involve your child in their learning, ADHD or not.
Given their difficulty in remaining focused for long periods, it’s crucial to plan regular breaks that allow children with ADHD to let off steam… and recharge their batteries. 🔋
✏ Baba’Tips: rather than one long break, opt for several short breaks so that your little one can relax at regular intervals, disconnecting temporarily from the task he/she is doing and then refocusing. Psst: outside is even better! 🌿
It’s not unusual for a child with ADHD to feel different, unable to conform to expectations or succeed like the others. Under these conditions, it’s difficult to have self-confidence and believe in one’s abilities… It’s up to you!
Your little protégé undoubtedly makes considerable efforts on a daily basis. However, if you don’t put yourself in his shoes to better understand the disorder he’s living with, these efforts may go unnoticed, reinforcing his feelings of failure and inferiority.
As a parent, you are his pillar. Understand his challenges and show your support by listening to his concerns and encouraging him.
The disorder he’s living with has nothing to do with his intelligence. Remind him of this and continually implement a strategy of positive reinforcement. Leave aside what’s not going so well and praise him for every effort he makes and every step he takes.
✏ Baba’Tips: the reward period is also very important. Do you notice any progress? No matter how small, don’t wait to say “BRAVO”! 👏
An adult with ADHD generally lives better with this disorder than a child. Why is that? The answer is simple: with time, they get to know themselves better and know what strategy(ies) to put in place to limit the impact.
Help your child to understand how he or she works and to identify his or her strengths and weaknesses. This will enable them to adapt and overcome any obstacles they encounter with greater serenity.
Of course, every child with ADHD is unique. To help them flourish, understand how they see the world and punctuate their daily routine with simple habits that will make all the difference. ✅
✏ Note: are you a parent, teacher or remedial professional? Find out all our advice on the article “How to support a child with ADHD at school“.