1. Understand your Brain
It’s important, even at young ages, that all children understand what their brains need to do their job well. Since ADD brains work differently in some ways, it’s all the more important information for our kids to understand that:
- Brains need food & water. We should eat healthy food and drink water on a regular basis. If your child does better on a special diet, like gluten free, increased omegas, or decreased refined sugar, make sure they know what works for them, and why.
- Brains need down-time. Getting enough sleep is important. ADD kids often have trouble sleeping, for a variety of reasons. Helping them understand the importance of sleep can encourage them to make it a priority. Down-time during the day is also helpful. Meditation, prayer and quiet have been shown to increase calm and focus. Finding time every day to sit quietly, even if it’s only for a minute, is a great habit that will support them for a lifetime.
- Brains need motivation & focus. The ADHD brain is different. Teach your children that their brain needs to be really interested in a task in order to get it done. Some people have a “just get it done” button in their brain, but ADD brains typically don’t. Help your kids find a motivator (like a reward after a task) for each activity that requires them to focus.
2. Take Responsibility
Since our kids are often behind their peers developmentally, it’s important to support them in taking on what they can, when they are ready. When my son was first diagnosed, every day on the way to school we talked about what his job was. Was his job to stay focused and pay attention? Nope! He has an ADD brain and that was not a reasonable expectation at that time. His job: when he noticed, or was told he was off task, he needed to take action – do something to try and get back on task. Every time.
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