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Tips for Raising a Child with ADD/ADHD

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not that uncommon, though learning that your child has such a learning disability can be difficult – and raising a child with ADD or ADHD can be a challenge as well. From the moment you learn that your child has a learning disorder, it is important that you understand their condition as much as you can. Not only can it help you understand them more fully, but also it can allow you to see how they think and it can provide you with more insight regarding how you raise them.

It’s Not a Character Issue

The first thing that parents need to understand is that a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing. These conditions generally refer to a pattern of behavior that will have an effect on how your child interacts with the world around them, especially since many social atmospheres call for very specific modes of behavior – like school. Kids with ADD and ADHD tend to be more active, fidgety, and are unable to sit still for long. Their thoughts may move quicker than their attention spans, or even their mouths, making holding conversations with them rather demanding and fast-paced. These characteristics may make sitting in school all day hard, and it may have an effect on your child’s grades or overall academic performance, but that does not mean that your child is not smart. Because kids with ADD or ADHD do not operate as well as others when in stricter environments, it helps to understand how their minds work and how you can help adapt your thinking and modes of understanding to get on their level and keep up with their active brains.

Don’t Let it Be an Excuse

It’s still important for parents to monitor their child’s behavior and to understand their intentions. ADD and ADHD can make things like reading or completing homework a challenge, but that should not stop you or them from attempting them.

When it comes to reading, writing, and other assignments that kids may need to complete for school, you can find ways to adapt the task to your child’s needs. It’s important that you, and your child, understand that ADD or ADHD can make these things challenging, but not impossible. Instead of saying or thinking, “I can’t do homework because I have ADD/ADHD” your child should realize that “Homework is challenging because I have ADD/ADHD” and there are ways to overcome these obstacles in a way that suits your child’s needs and preferences.

Play it Cool

For parents with children who have learning disabilities or behavioral disorders, it is important to practice patience. If you find your child having difficulties understanding or remembering rules, or forgetting to do chores and requiring constant reminders, think about keeping both verbal and written reminders around. Because kids with ADD/ADHD have trouble thinking in the long-term, you may need to try new methods of keeping them organized before you get upset with them for not cleaning their room or remembering to do the dishes. It could be a manner of accidental forgetting, and they may simply require additional reminders and tips to help incentivize them.

Emphasize their Strengths

Kids with learning or behavioral disorders may have problems with their self-esteem because of their inability to perform in particular academic areas, in specific situations, or other circumstances, but that does not mean your child cannot excel. Find subjects, hobbies, and other talents that your child is good at and find positive characteristics that can help them remain motivated. Kids with ADD or ADHD may have trouble concentrating in class, but they may excel in other fast-paced activities.

Don’t Overprotect Them

Just because your child has a disorder or disability does not mean that they cannot do certain things or that they should be sheltered. Every kid is unique, whether they have ADD/ADHD or not. Find what works for your child, what they respond positively to and what they like. Adjusting to your child’s needs does not require limiting them, just understanding what might work better for them or what may help them more.

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Easy Ways to Inspire Your Child’s Imagination

Imagination is a wonderful thing, but make-believe is more than just about playtime. Sure, having a vivid imagination can often lead to artistic creativity and daydreaming, but having an active imagination can also be beneficial for developing minds in other ways. Imagination, or the ability to create and imagine things mentally, allows for conceptual problem-solving, abstract concepts, and other types of intangible thought to thrive. Kids with active imaginations are better at solving complex problems, learning new things, and embracing abstract ideas.

One of the most important thing a parent or guardian can do is to encourage this kind of thought and to continually inspire their children to think big and be creative.

Tell a Story

Storytelling has inspired mankind’s imaginations for millennia and it continues to do so every day. As much as storytelling lends itself to movies, tv and video games, try simply telling your children bedtime stories without any other kind of medium – that way, kids can see the characters and the setting in their head. Ask them how they picture things or to describe what they see in their mind’s eye to encourage them to think actively. Feel free to use a book for inspiration, but making up a story on your own can be fun, too!

Get Crafty

Making and looking at art is another way to help get your child’s creativity flowing. Make holiday-themed decorations or encourage them to adorn their bedrooms with creations of their own. Ask them to make their favorite characters or write a story that they can share with you later. Experimenting with different mediums can be an adventure as well. Purchase an art kit or have fun at your local craft store by just picking out random items and seeing what your child thinks of doing with them on their own.

The Great Outdoors

Nature has proven to be inspirational for artists, writers, and visionaries for centuries. Having a personal relationship with nature is good for your health, but it can also help keep kids inspired and amused with wonder. Go for hikes, long walks, and visit national parks if you can. Try to find local areas that house different types of landscapes or features like large forests, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and more.

Expand Their Horizons

It can be easy for parents and children to get trapped in their own little worlds, thinking of little else but home, work, and school on a day to day basis. Try and teach your kids about other cultures, travel to different places, and expose them to history, myths and legends, different cuisines, and other fun things. Exploration has inspired humans since the dawn of time, so let your kids discover the world around them, too. Encourage them to keep learning and experience new things, even when they are no longer kids but only kids at heart.

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