Some parent’s worry that medication may sedate their children or make them feel dopey. However, if the medication is used correctly experts advise that this shouldn’t happen. It will in fact, often have the opposite effect; children more often than not feel more alert and focused. However, experts do advise that in a small number of cases, medication may not help.
If your child experiences any negative side effects, this could be because the medication doesn't agree with them, , the dosage is wrong or the amount of doses administered per day is incorrect.
Drug-free interventions that have proven effective include educational interventions, behaviour modification, and parent training and anger management.
Strategies for parents trying to manage ADHD
Parents play a big part in helping to manage their child's ADHD. There are some simple strategies and ideas that parents can try at home which may help your child and reduce stress. Some tips for managing ADHD include:
- Set routines that are clear and concise at both school and at home.
- Keep verbal instructions clear and repeat them if necessary.
- Prepare your child well in advance for any changes in routine.
- Watch out for things at home and school that may be stressful for your child. Children with ADD/ADHD are frequently more upset than other children when things go wrong.
- Try to ensure that your child isn't tired or hungry when you need them to behave; it’s a good idea to carry healthy snacks with you.
- Allow wind down time between activities.
- Don't give your child too many choices; instead say “Would you like to do this or that?”as opposed to asking them“ What would you like to do?”
- Try to fit in daily exercise or allow them to run around outdoors. Exercise is a great way to help let off steam.
- If you notice that your child is stressed, have a fun and relaxing activity planned to help calm and distract him.
It is vital to help develop good self esteem in children with ADHD as they are often lacking in confidence as they feel different. These tips may be worth trying:
- Praise your child something well and encourage your child to take part in activities that he does well.
- Set goals that he can achieve, you can gradually make them more difficult but make sure to provide lots of chances for him to succeed.
- Leave notes of encouragement and praise.
- Acknowledge good behaviour, e.g. when your child helps with chores or carries out instructions properly.
- Make sure that he has your full support and reassurance.
A child with ADHD may not be able to make friends as easily as others. Here are some tips for parents:
- Limit play dates to just one or two children
- Show your child how to join a group and teach him how to start conversations, you could also try some role play.
- Arrange structured activity for play-dates.
- Speak to your child about how to be a friend, explain about sharing and taking turns. Practice together at home.
- Encourage your child to join adult supervised groups, such as a football team.