Fun is Learning for ADHD Kids

by Yafa Crane Luria

 

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It’s really common to hear an adult (usually) tell a child, “Learning is FUN!” but it’s not always the truth. Some learning is not fun at all. What IS always true is that Fun is learning! and it’s a huge executive function builder – a key to ADHD success.

In fact, I would venture to say that FUN is exactly how ADHD children learn the best.

In a typical classroom setting, the teacher directs the lesson and the kids sit and listen. Or not. Often it’s a case of in-one-ear-out-the-other. At home, the parent give directions and the kids sit and listen. Or not. Either way, no one’s having fun.

ADHD is blocked brilliance, blocked skills, blocked resourcefulness. It’s all there; it’s just blocked.

The thing about ADHD is not that it’s a deficit or disorder, it’s a blockage. The good news there is that it can be unblocked (and speaking of “unblocked,” are you a subscribed to “Unblocking the Brilliance”? Here’s a link to subscribe! But come back here when you’re done!)

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Here are 10 ways that fun can unblock your child’s brilliance:

  1. Creating art & crafting raise dopamine levels and unblock fine motor skills. (Here’s an article on the neuroscience of coloring). Even going to an art museum has been shown to increase empathy, tolerance and feelings of love!
  2. Eating protein enhances memory, focus, productivity, and mood. (An article on brain foods).
  3. Running around “sparks neurogenesis: the growth of new brain cells.” (An article on running and the brain).
  4. Team games (with a great coach) teach social skills, improve motor skills, and improve academic performance! (Check out this article on the social and academic benefits to team sports).
  5. Board games can, literally, increase intelligence, memory, executive functioning, vocabulary and math skills (And here you go, an article about the best board games for increasing brain function).
  6. Listening to music increases creativity.
  7. “Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout.”rocker-chick_5575343
  8. Reading obviously improves the brain but did you know that when you read aloud (to yourself) you unblock focus, comprehension, and listening skills?! Here’s the 411.
  9. Outdoor activities like traveling, camping, gardening, and hiking engage all 5 senses and, thus, increase brain power, creativity, focus, and productivity.

And look what learning a second language does!

Compared to people that speak one language, adults who speak multiple languages are more likely to:

  • have higher general intelligence
  • be better at planning, prioritizing, and decision making
  • score higher on standardized math, reading, and vocabulary tests
  • be more perceptive of their surroundings
  • avoid falling for marketing hype
  • understand others’ points of view
  • have better focus, concentration, and attention
  • delay immediate gratification in the pursuit of long-term goals
  • have better memory and memorization skills, including better working memory
  • exhibit mental flexibility
  • switch between tasks quickly
  • be creative
  • have good listening skills

Start them young, and look for ways to learn a language besides the mandatory high school classes, like hosting a foreign exchange student.

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Albert Einstein said that “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that learning is a serious matter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The huge problem with that is that ADHD kids aren’t conventional thinkers. Fun is our way to access and increase brain function.

I believe people should have fun multiple times a day. Let your child invent ways to make mundane tasks, activities or events fun, and then play along. Your brain will grow sharper too!

xo, Yafa

Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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What troubles you about parenting an ADHD child or teen?

Let’s talk! No judgment, no salesy come-on. However you WILL receive a good deal of TLC and a slew of strategies. You can say anything. You can cry. You can swear. Your confidentiality is guaranteed, and I promise to listen and give you hope and relief. (You might even find yourself spontaneously doing a happy dance).

“Thank you Yafa. You’ve given me incredibly helpful tools! It was really a pleasure to speak with you. I’ll be back in touch in the coming weeks.” Stella R, Portland, OR.

“I really appreciate that I could be vulnerable and you didn’t shoot me down. I feel comfortable with you and your humor brightened the call.” Danielle A, Bellingham, WA.

“I talked with you a year ago, Yafa, and your voice is always in my head, guiding me. I just wanted to email and thank you.” April W, Queensland, Australia

“Thank you for your encouraging, enlightening suggestions.” Jill E, Seattle, WA.

Thank you for ‘being there’ to share your wealth of knowledge and personal experience with us who are ‘floundering’ and ‘lost in the forest’ when it comes to ‘dealing with special and difficult circumstances’. Gratefully yours, Rochelle H, Alberta, Canada xox ((((BIG HUGS)))

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