Parenting a child with Adhd can be challenging- coming from a Neurospicy mama myself, I remember my mum having to hold her breath & count to ten a lot when I was younger. The most important thing for you to know is that there is support out there. There strategies that will help both you & your child & Adhd does not have to mean that your relationship cannot be close, healthy, or even fun.
I also want to assure you that if you have Adhd, you can still be a bloody amazing parent.
Without further ado, lets jump in & get straight to these game-changing tips!
Get comfy... XO
1.Be firm & kind
This advice is from Dr Daniel Amen. Amen Clinics are world leading in SPECT Brain scan imaging. @docamen on social media (give him a follow, you won't regret it!) is a world leading, double board certified Psychiatrist who has done hundreds of thousands of brain scan images. Each hold vital evidence of what is going on inside the persons brain... his philosophy is that if you broke your arm and went to the hospital, they'd scan you. There are so many times that people get it wrong in mental health & his work in this field is proving that brain scan imaging is not just the best choice for individuals everywhere, it is the future! He also passionately advocates to end 'mental illness' because the label, the stigma gives no dignity to patients. Instead, he uses the term 'Brain Health' which is much more empowering. In truth, mental health challenges as just that- challenges. They are not the person & taking the label 'mental illness' takes a huge weight away.
Doc Amen is married to @tanaamen who also shares amazing tips on women's health. She also has Adhd, as do many of their children. Doc Amen has written a book on Adhd (Healing ADD- again, highly recommend!) & offers courses & extensive expertise on the subject at an affordable price for all. I could seriously gush about their work all day, but we have many more tips to explore for now, so I won't!
2. Feed them a high protein breakfast
Eating a high protein breakfast stimulates the release of Dopamine within the brain which is what Adhd brains are somewhat deficient in. Dopamine provides reward & motivation to the brain which is what we need to get moving productively throughout our day.
Do you have a fussy eater like I do? Take a look at these 10 ideas for high protein kids breakfasts.
3. Turn tasks into fun games
Say let's play a game, ready? I bet you can't pick up all your lego before this song finishes (put on their favourite song). Bonus tip: make this a routine to your tidy time and let them pick a song for each time. This will help keep it novel & interesting for them, both of these things provide stimulation to the Adhd brain.
4. Don't shout, explain calmly with confidence
They get overwhelmed, shut down & can't hear you. Have a calm conversation with them explaining... For example: you can't gave this because you did that becomes: seen as you weren't very kind to me just now, we are going straight to bed with a book tonight (instead of TV or whatever you would usually do, just don't mention what you'd normally do or they'll cling into it & moan 😂)
5. Lead by example & promote independence
Show them how to break down big tasks into smaller ones. Just like us adults, this is how spicy kids accomplish things best. Preparation helps too... For example, I'm a single mum of a Sassy six year old I know how hard the school mornings can be...
Set a time for waking
Make it earlier than they'd like, so you can give them one snooze and they'll still be up in time
Give them a choice, if you get up now you'll have time for 'x-y-z' if you don't you won't- get into the habit of giving them a choice & making them aware of the consequences of each choice. Adhders can be impulsive & need help thinking things through.
6. Reward good behaviour
Here are two of my favourite ideas for rewards:
Rewards: a box of small gifts
Rewards box - lucky dip style - of misc rewards, include stickers, small gifts, envelope with a trip idea, a book, craft idea etc etc... this is my favourite thing to do & it's so fun & stimulating for them because it's new & novel everytime which increases stimulation. Rewarding good behaviour also makes your child feel good & builds a pattern of recognition. They are more likely to behave well for you if they know the outcome will = reward.
7. Gift them an affirmation jar and remind them to pick one everyday
I decorate & fill up a jar of affirmations for Violet every year & gift it to her on New Years Eve. Affirmations are so powerful. Various studies have proven that affirmations DO have positive effects on the way we view ourselves & the world. Just keep them realistic, personalised & kind. For example, if your child struggles with confidence, you can write gentle reminders to them that they can be brave, then write a prompt get them to think of something brave they did recently. This affirmation becomes a practical prompt that gets them to see themselves in a new, positive & affirming light.
Bonus Tip: Why not make yourself a jar too & pull out some affirmations together & discuss them. A little positive reinforcement between you both is a great exercise to strengthen your bond.
8. Record your daily highlight
Another tip I got from the fabulous Dr Daniel Amen is to record your daily highlight everyday. At the end of each day, write, or have a conversation about the highlight of your day & explore why it was so special, what you learned from it & reexperience it for a moment. I like to include Violet in this conversation & ask her about hers, because it teaches her good habits & gets us both in a positive headspace before bed which is beneficial for a better nights sleep!
9. Practise gratitude
You're training them to look for things that they feel thankful for and gratitude is a scientifically to make you happier!
10. Challenge their 'all or nothing' thinking
If one person declines to play with my daughter, she'll wail: "no one wants to play with me!" this is an example of all or nothing thinking. In her mind, if one person said no, the whole world did. That's catastrophic thinking & as the adult it is up to me to teach her that this way of thinking isn't helpful or true.
Gently challenge your child to investigate these thoughts. Ask them: "Is this true? Really, no one wants to play with you?" Lay out the facts & show them that this thought isn't true. Then show them who they could be without it, encourage them to try again. The willingness to try is so important for any form of success in life. We can't leave our kids to be stuck in this negative thought loop. We must help them to REFRAME & find the courage to try for whatever it is they truly want. This is how we help them to build their confidence, resilience & self-esteem.
Which tips are you going to try?
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Sending you love and light!