Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be difficult to spot in very young children, as many young children display some typical signs of ADHD during their daycare and preschool years, even in the absence of an actual diagnosable condition. However, if your child seems to display many of these behaviors the majority of the time, it may make sense to consult your pediatrician. A diagnosis, treatment plan, and management at home can make all the difference for children with ADHD.
ADHD can present itself in a number of ways, including a difficulty with attention, such as:
- An inability to focus on one activity.
- Difficulty completing tasks (esp. preschool activities like arts and crafts).
- Trouble listening before becoming distracted.
- Challenges in following instructions and processing information.
Physical restlessness is also a concern in children with ADHD. Signs include:
- Becoming overly wiggly or fidgety on a consistent basis.
- Difficulty sitting still in order to eat, listen in a preschool class environment, or when having a book read aloud.
- Making excessive noise or talking with difficulty stopping.
- Being in constant motion, often from activity to activity.
Social skills may suffer a bit as a result of ADHD, as children will often:
- Display extreme impatience with other children and with adults.
- Experience difficulty in waiting their turn.
- Interrupt when others are talking.
- Intrude on other children at playgroup or childcare, without asking first.
What can parents do to help their children once they’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and are working on modulating their behavior?
Create structure. Figure out a routine that works for your child, and stick to it. Regular meal times, sleep and nap times, as well as rituals that make transitions and schedules easier are key.
Stay organized. Keep your living spaces neat, tidy, and well organized. Teach your child where everything goes and how to maintain tidiness when it comes to his or her own belongings, as well as toys and activities at their daycare center.
Limit distractions. Come up with strict rules about tablets, television, video games, and computers. Letting your child know that he cannot simply move on from one screen to another, or interrupt other activities in favor of screens, is important in keeping him focused.
Encourage exercise. Physical activity will help your child burn off his or her excess energy. Exercise can reduce the likelihood of children with ADHD developing anxiety and depression, and it can also help them to find ways of channeling their energy.
Stay calm. If you are constantly buzzing from one activity to the next, or if you find yourself having impatient outbursts in front of your child, you’re not modeling the type of behavior you hope to see.
If your child has ADHD, how have you helped her manage at home? What signs and symptoms led to you seeking a diagnosis? Let us know, if you feel comfortable doing so, in the comments section. And, if you’re interested in learning more about our child development center in Monroe, contact Child’s World Academy today!