Without a doubt, all of us have gone through a phase in school in which we hated to attend school and the periods on the Time-Table seemed never ending!
What did I do as a kid?
I made excuses to use the washroom, drink water or refill my water bottle from the water cooler and what not.Some of my classmates, had a different subject book, one that they found interesting, hidden under their desks and they would be found either reading it out or finishing their pending work from that subject.
All of us have done so much, just to kill those 40 minutes of classes, period after period, waiting for school to get over, and to rush back home.
Did you know what was the real cause of such behaviour and disinterest of ours? A severe deficiency of attention.
Yes, that’s exactly what it’s called in layman’s terms otherwise medically called ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder).
Most children, even today, suffer from ADHD. Their attention spans are too low and they are hyperactive to an extent that they simply hate to sit still in the classroom for even ten minutes at a stretch.
These are students who are seen roaming around in class every ten minutes or so, fidgeting with their shoes and socks, reaching out for their water bottles without the need of being thirsty, chatting away to glory while the teacher is explaining something, and sometimes, are even found daydreaming.
Is your child one of them too? Has your child’s teacher, at the monthly meet, ever told you how restless and fidgety they are? Are you often worried about your child’s grades in school, owing to his jumping-jack behaviour in class?
First and foremost, talk to your child’s teacher at length. Discuss this problem in detail with her and figure out whether your child is suffering with ADHD. Take the help of a specialist if you’re not sure.
And after all this, if you have a bunch of positive answers in hand, then it’s time to do something about it, and here’s what you can do at home
Helping your child with ADHD at home
Outdoor Play: Encourage your child to spend time with nature, that is, at parks, zoos, gardens etc. for at least half an hour every day. Greenery and water bodies always provide a subtle sense of relaxation to the mind. This will calm her down, helping her to concentrate better and longer.
Tip: Plan a trip to the beach or the nearby park every weekend or so.
Exercise: Advocate physical exercise to your child. Encourage him to swim and cycle. Enroll his name for a tennis class perhaps. The more he stays physically active, the sooner his focus and attention span will increase.
Tip: Exercise along with your child, so that he feels encouraged and motivated to workout.
Body Movements: Any physical activities that are interesting to your child and also require close attention to movements of the body are recommended for kids. For instance, dancing, skating, martial arts and so on.
Tip: You can choose any activity that your child enjoys as a hobby and which also gives him a lot of physical movement.
Sleep Routine: Develop and maintain a regular sleep routine for your child. A well-slept child is more stable and calm than any other sleep deprived child. Not just the number of hours of sleep, but also the time of going to bed should be given the due importance and attention. Sleeping on time and waking up early should be made a habit with at least eight hours of sleep every night.
Tip: Read out bedtime stories to your child, so that going to bed becomes an interesting exercise for him.
Sugar Levels: Make your child eat meals or snack, at least every three hours in order to keep her blood sugar levels under check. Make it a point that your kid should not stay hungry or go empty-stomach for long hours at a stretch. Staying relatively full all the time will keep her happier and more available to focus.
Tip: You can avoid this situation by packing handy and ready-to-eat munchies and snacks and keeping it in her school bag.
Disciplined Life: Get your child to follow a disciplined routine, as this will minimize irritability and help him center himself. Fix a time for rising up, sleeping, eating, studying and playing. Increased discipline will send his brain a subtle message that things are in order, letting him be more calm and composed and less hyper.
Tip: Make an attractive daily time-table for your child and reward him on following it.
Praise: Praise your child for every small good thing she does. Children who suffer from ADHD are often criticized and disliked by others. In such a case, your kind words can act as a huge motivator and stress-reliever for your child. However, praising your child does not mean only praising her all the time without punishing her for her wrongdoings. Praise in moderation, maintaining a balance at the same time.
Tip: Praise your child be rewarding her with a goodie for every good deed done; but don’t forget to remove a privilege on her unacceptable behaviour.
Mindfulness: Teach your kid a handful of mindfulness techniques and see the difference. Check out my article on Teaching Mindfulness to Kids, for a deeper insight.
Helping your child with ADHD at school
Talk to the school authorities and see if a special education program can be designed for your child. Inform your teacher about your child’s disorder and discuss how she can help your child with it. Request her to give some extra attention, time and care to your child.
Medications can be resorted to, though these are not considered very safe for your child and also do not provide the guarantee of working effectively. The school counsellor can also be taken help from.
ADHD or low attention span and restlessness of your child, all wrapped in one, can be lowered and minimized, if not treated as such. You and your kid can surely be winners and walk out of this disorder easily. All your child needs is love, attention and lot of support.