Refocusing the ADHD Brain
Distractions happen. Life is full of distractions, and parenting ADHD kids is a lot about refocusing the ADHD brain.
The tricky part is that we don’t always have the resources – either online or among our friends and family – to find solutions that work for ADHD kids, specifically.
Let me help with that!
Dos and Don’ts for refocusing:
*1. Do provide protein to your kids, especially before studying or doing homework. The ADHD brain focuses best with protein. Combine with water. The brain needs hydrating. Sugar and carbs will either hype them up or sedate them.
*2. Do make use of fidgets to focus the mind on the task. (This is my favorite). The fidget busies the distracted brain and focuses the rest of the brain (I’m no scientist but this is what appears to happen). You don’t have to buy a fidget. I’ve used balled up aluminum foil, paper clips, rubber bands, and balls. One client had a big rock under his desk and his way of fidgeting was to move the stone around with his feet!
*3. Do encourage full-body movement, even moving away from the desk or table where the work is, can be super helpful. The harder the task, the more I need to move, especially if I’m using my standing desk. I think it’s best to offer a sitting and a standing option because different tasks may require different learning modes. And some kids will need a more active break between assignments, tasks, or even after a particular amount of time.
*4. Do offer Emotional support can be varied, depending on the task and the location of the task. Here are some suggestions: an “atta boy/atta girl” text, sitting nearby, providing a snack, taking a break to dance or do push-ups or something fun and physical, having you child sit in a place that feels grounding (library, bed, up against a wall – I had a client that did his best work sitting against a tree, even in the Pacific Northwest rain!), having a place that is decorated with pictures, quotes, artwork, books, stuffed animals or toys that make your child feel inspired.
*5. Do create routines, knowing that it will be hard at first to stick to them. ADHD kids have trouble with routines but routines are important. The purpose of a routine should be to create consistency, not to restrict and it’s important to take that point of view. Still it will take time. And much like potty training, even when the routine is in place, there will be slips. Routines are steady and reliable, but it’s helpful to get your child’s input – not about whether there’s a routine or not, but what that routine will look like. Your kids may also have “a better idea” after trying the routine for a while. Listen and discuss the changes proposed.
*6. Don’t you be the one that distracts your child! Babysitting, running errands, and even cleaning up can be a distraction. Interrupting your child’s focus tells him/her that focus is not valued. Keep in mind that pre-planned interruptions are fine. If you’re going to need your child to do something, tell him/her ahead of time so that it’s part of the schedule of events that day and not something random.
*7. If (when) your child gets distracted, don’t be harsh or judgmental about it. Saying things like, “What are you doing?” “Get back to work!” “Again???” or “What is it this time!” are discouraging and will take up space in your child’s head. You want your child’s head to be full of whatever the task is! You can gently redirect by offering emotional support, as in #4 above.
What has worked for you?
Just scroll down and share your thoughts in the comments section. I love, love, love hearing from you.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
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