8 Important Things to Know About Children with ADHD

Derby School Counselor Julie Browne reminds us of important things to know about children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  1. Nutrition matters. 
    • Proteins in the morning are helpful for increased concentration. 
    • Minerals including iron, zinc, and magnesium help develop enzymes in our brains, which help improve attention. 
    • Calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin D also play a role in stimulating brain cells. Think poultry, fish, meat, beans, spinach, nuts, eggs, and vitamins for vitamin D and zinc.  
  2. Kids need a reason to learn. 
    Help motivate your child by connecting lessons to the real world or a point of interest to them.
  3. Children with ADHD often have issues with emotional control. 
    At times, their reaction can be bigger than the size of the problem. 
    During moments like these: 
    • Empathize (pure empathy has no opinion tied to it.)
    • Create a plan together on how to move forward.
  4. Use behavior charts to mark progress. 
    A behavior chart or point system at home is very helpful at teaching an expectation. Think morning routine, cleaning up, or doing homework. These charts may be very detailed or they can be a simple sticker or check-mark poster. Whichever you choose, make sure there is a daily opportunity to gain something or lose something (TV or screentime, dessert—it does not have to be a toy or gift.) 
  5. Tools! 
    Children who practice using tools will have greater success in coping with inattention and emotional control. Breathing tools, exercise, positive self-talk, and determining a designated place to cool down or relax are all effective strategies. 
  6. First/then approach. 
    This is simple, concrete, and effective! “First get dressed and brush your teeth, then you can watch a show. First do your Zoom call, then we can have a snack.” Repeat this over and over, and you will hear fewer arguments and see more productivity. 
  7. Increase confidence!  
    Children with ADHD sometimes can feel down on themselves and it’s important to find ways to boost their confidence and practice positive affirmations. Talk about their hard work and their strengths. Have them talk about themselves in a positive way. Follow their lead during play or sports time. 
  8. Sometimes post-traumatic stress or anxiety presents itself as ADHD.  
    We must be careful and consider various causes of inattention and difficulty concentrating.