5 Coping skills for ADHD child

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Page last updated: 21/09/2022

What are the coping skills for children with ADHD?

Following are some of the important activities and skills that can help children cope wit attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Creating and maintaining a structured routine to help the child get used to some of the daily activities and settle in a rhythm 

Dividing tasks into small parts so that they can be managed and completed easily. 

Do not complicate the task and explain things in simple words

Minimize distractions

Regular exercise and physical activities  

Create a regular and fixed sleeping schedule to regulate sleep patterns.

Let them voice their thoughts out loud. 

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is one of the most commonly occurring mental disorders in children.  Though it is not just limited to children and can also occur in adults. The characteristic symptoms of ADHD are inattention (lack of attention or trouble in focusing), hyperactivity (restlessness and excessive movements that can be considered dysfunctional for their existing environment.), and impulsivity (acting on impulse without giving much thought to their actions.  But these are not the only symptoms of ADHD. The other symptoms are as follows. 

Symptoms and Diagnosis
While children display many symptoms commonly associated with ADHD such as intense and high energy levels, lack of attention, restlessness, etc. But the difference in children with ADHD is that their symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention are of noticeably greater degree. The symptoms displayed by them are much more severe than the ones commonly displayed by children without ADHD.  These symptoms cause distress in their social, educational, and even interpersonal life.

There are three types of ADHD

  • Inattentive 
  • Hyperactive/impulsive 
  • Combined 

Some of the commonly found symptoms from each of these types are as follows

  • Do not pay attention or listen when they are being spoken to. (Because their attention is elsewhere)
  • Have trouble following instructions and get them mixed up. 
  • Do not complete their homework, any tasks, or even chores. 
  • Are unorganized and have difficulty understanding the structure of the task. 
  • Have shabby and messy handwriting and miss deadline for tasks and assignments frequently. 
  • Unable to remain seated in one place even for a short span of time. 
  • Display erratic behavior, for example, running amok or climbing up at inappropriate places 
  • Are loud and vocal about their activities and behavior.
  • Talk excessively

Treatment and Coping Skills For ADHD in children

Following some of the effective methods and treatment and coping skills for dealing with ADHD

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is often sought by parents before they even start medications. Occupational therapy helps in learning and discovering movements of the body that can help them manage some of their symptoms.

According to occupational therapists, every child has a different sensory input threshold. Therefore it makes sense to include a sensory diet in the treatment plan for ADHD. When the diet takes into consideration the child’s needs then it helps in calming the child by decreasing their distress caused due to sensory irritation

5 Coping skills for ADHD child

Create and maintain a routine

By maintaining a fixed routine the children can get used to their daily activities and also find it easier to manage these activities within a specific time as they are conditioned to do it every day. The activities that are included in this schedule could be brushing teeth, taking a bath, eating meals, doing homework, completing tasks at school or home, and even playtime. These activities also help in creating a structure in the child’s mind about their daily routine and teach them how to handle these tasks efficiently.    

Dividing tasks into manageable pieces

It is necessary to break down any task into small parts to decrease its level of complexity. If the task is monumental it would create a lot of pressure on the child and they would find it insurmountable. But if the task is broken down into small and easily manageable parts they can attempt to complete it. And once they complete one step of the task they would feel more motivated to move on to the next step. This would not happen if the task is presented as a huge chunk of work and it would seem like endless work to them and they would lose focus halfway through the task. 

For example, instead of telling them to bake a cake by following a long recipe, try to break down the recipes into simple steps. First, tell them to prepare the batter. Once they have completed this task, appreciate them, and then instruct them on how to prepare the cream. In the next step explain in simple words how to bake the cake in the oven and the last step let them decorate it the way they want to. Once they start enjoying a task they are more likely to remain focused and complete it. 

Simplify and organize your child’s life

They struggle with complex concepts and instructions that require too much concentration and attention. Hence try making things simple and easier for the child. Do not create unnecessary clutter in their routine and let them have a special space for doing their homework, playing, or even just relaxing during the day. ADHD makes organizing things difficult and they cannot do it themselves. Therefore help them keep their stuff organized and in places where they can reach them easily, They are also prone to forgetfulness and hence help them organize their things in such a way that they become used to placing their things at fixed places. Do not create unnecessary chaos or sensory stimulation in the house as it can trigger their symptoms and cause them distress. 

By taking care of these things you can help eliminate unnecessary distractions and elements from their lives and help them in leading a functional life despite their cumbersome disorder. 

Minimize and avoid  distractions

ADHD makes children prone to get distracted by even the slightest of disturbances. Therefore sources that could generate these distractions should be controlled and regulated. These sources such as television, video games, social media, electronic gadgets, etc., also give rise to impulsive and erratic behavior in children. Hence it is imperative that the children only spend the optimum amount of time on these sources and dedicate their remaining time to engaging in other productive activities that do not deteriorate their symptoms.

Let them voice out their thoughts

If they are doing a task then encourage them to voice their thoughts out loud. This will help them in keeping focus and also sort out their erratic thoughts. This can also ensure that their thoughts are still on task and if you notice that their thoughts are getting distracted you can always gently bring them back on track. 

Encourage exercise

Intense and rigorous physical activities can help in getting rid of excessive energy. They also help in training focus and attention. Thus, physical activities and exercise help with not just hyperactivity and inattention but also impulsivity by keeping them engaged in productive activity. As it improves concentration, is good for physical and mental health, and also reduces the risk of depression exercise should be encouraged by parents in children with ADHD. 

Thus, these were some of the coping skills for ADHD that can be utilized with the help of parents’ cooperation and participation to help the child deal with their disorder. 

Conclusion

This blog taught us the various coping skills that help with ADHD in children. It also explained the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the difficulties children face in their lives due to this disorder. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help my ADHD child focus?

One of the major characteristic symptoms of ADHD is inattention. This creates an obstacle for them in completing their tasks. To overcome this issue at least for a short while following strategies could be helpful. 

  • Divide things/tasks into small parts. If they are faced with completing a huge task then it can be a little overwhelming. But if the task is divided into manageable parts then it can seem achievable and won’t create panic in the child.  
  • Relaxation exercise and practicing deep breathing can help in regaining thoughts and calming down the mind. This helps in increasing focus. 
  • Do not discourage or dissuade them from taking breaks. Breaks are essential to keep up their momentum and not to exhaust them. 
  • Encourage and reserve ample time for outdoor activities and play.
  • Create and maintain a routine. Stick to a Routine. 
  • Direct their excessive energy towards a productive task. For example, encourage them to join sports or activities that require expending a lot of energy. 
  • Limit their Screen Time as it can trigger their hyperactivity and restlessness.

What are some coping skills for ADHD in adults?

ADHD is most often diagnosed in childhood and the coping skills and treatment begin by that age. But sometimes a person misses being diagnosed and does not learn any coping skills for their condition until it is discovered. Most of the time they get diagnosed in their adulthood. For such people dealing with ADHD is very difficult as they spend most of their life struggling without knowing the cause behind it. Therefore to help them cope with ADHD following coping skills have proven to be very effective.

  • Regular exercise and engaging in vigorous physical activities
  • Be cognizant of your limitations and accept them unconditionally 
  • Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, and social groups.
  • Reserve time for yourself every day to relax 
  • Create a fixed and regular schedule
  • Set up an internal clock and try to work around things with that time in mind. 

What activities are good for a child with ADHD?

There are several activities for children with ADHD that have been proven to be effective and can be done even at school. Following are some of these activities.

  • Walking or jogging for at least twenty minutes (at least 20 minutes)
  • Playing with friends or even alone 
  • Helping with Gardening or another kind of yard work.
  • Going on hikes or trekking on hills and mountains
  • Investing time in reading a good book
  • Playing outdoor sports suck as basketball, baseball, football, etc. 
  • Spending time with pets and animals

How do you calm a child with ADHD without medication?

ADHD can be difficult to deal with without medications. But it can still be managed with the help of some tips given below. 

Developing good sleeping habits

Having a healthy and nutritious diet plan and making the necessary changes in it to eliminate any harmful elements

Practicing mindfulness

Listening to music that helps in relaxing them

Enjoying and engaging in outdoor activities. 

Seeking counseling and therapy 

Can a child with ADHD sit and watch TV?

While many people find it unbelievable that someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can sit in one place to watch T.V. it can indeed happen. Even parents think that if their child hours sitting in front of T>V> that must mean that they do not have ADHD. But they do not realize that the ability to stay focused in one place for hours is another characteristic of ADHD

References

ADHD: Causes, symptoms, and treatment | US news. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://health.usnews.com/conditions/mental-health/adhd

Porter, E. (2018, September 17). Parenting tips for ADHD: DO’s and don’ts. Healthline. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/parenting-tips