If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, know that you're not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. Parenting children with this disorder can definitely be challenging and – at times – overwhelming. Here are four tips for parenting children with ADHD:
1. Help your children get more rest
While proper sleep is important for all children, it is especially critical for those with ADHD. Adequate rest will help calm your kids down and increase their concentration during the day. To help your children get to sleep faster, eliminate caffeine from their diet and make sure they get plenty of exercise throughout the day. It is also helpful for your children to do a relaxing activity before bedtime, like taking a bath or meditating.
2. Enroll them in martial arts classes
It turns out that martial arts can do much more than keep children in good shape and improve their self-confidence. The sport can also help improve ADHD symptoms. According to ADDitude Magazine, martial arts is beneficial for those with ADHD because it helps improve neural networks in the brain and makes it easier to practice self-control. Search for a reputable martial arts school in your area and sign your children up for classes.
3. Establish a routine
Because children with ADHD can easily get distracted and lose focus, it's important to establish a routine for them. This way, they can finish everything they're supposed to and not get flustered. Have your kids wake up, eat breakfast, do homework and play at the same times every day.
4. Feed them healthy snacks
According to Everyday Health, feeding children with ADHD nutritious snacks can keep them calm and prevent mood swings. Keep sugary treats to a minimum and fill your children up with foods that contain protein and healthy carbohydrates. For example, give your kids hummus as a snack before dinner. It's packed with fiber, protein and vitamins, so it will help your children stay calm and focused. Dried fruit and nuts are another great protein-packed snack to give your children. However, be careful not to give your children too much dried fruit and nuts as they can be high in calories.