ADHD is among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children. For many little ones, the condition will follow them into adulthood, meaning finding strategies to help them cope and participate in organized social environments is a necessary life skill. Some may respond to over-the-counter ADHD medication for children, limiting the need for prescription drugs. However, OTC remedies are rarely enough to resolve issues entirely.
ADHD kids must also learn how to regulate their emotional responses and focus. As a parent, you can help your child by setting up their environment for success.
How Does ADHD Affect Focus?
Research suggests ADHD can cause lower dopamine and norepinephrine levels, both neurotransmitters associated with attention and focus. ADHD symptoms in 14-year-olds and similar age groups will include:
- Lack of concentration
Developing Attention Skills
While natural anxiety relief for kids, like OTC medicines, can help ease some tension, the better approach for children with mild ADHD is to implement structure and predictability. There are at least six ways a parent can help an ADHD child foster focus and concentration.
1. Limit Procrastination
The primary objective is to help your little one avoid procrastination. Procrastination of assignments only leads to increased stress and pressure, which leads to avoidance and worry.
You can help your child by breaking assignments into smaller tasks. For example, if your teen has a research paper due in a few weeks, help them organize it into steps, like brainstorming, researching, outline, rough draft, revision, etc. Smaller tasks will be easier for your child to handle.
2. Avoid Distractions
Create a quiet, distraction-free environment for your child. It is best if the area is a dedicated space for study. However, if you do not have the space in your home to create such a space, consider setting up a corner of their bedroom or another quiet area.
You want to avoid setting up work areas in a communal space. Family rooms, kitchens, etc., are prone to noises and activity, which are distracting for people with ADHD.
3. Use Timers
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? The technique works by separating work into focus and rest or play intervals. The standard practice is 25 minutes of work followed by five minutes of rest or play. The method is effective for people with ADHD because it allows for a brief burst of energy after a small focus increment.
4. Direct Focus
Depending on your child’s age, you may need to play a more active role when they need to focus. You can help them when they are doing their homework by limiting distractions and directing their focus to their assignments. As your little one matures, they might handle techniques like Pomodoro timers on their own, but when they are young, it is challenging without the help of a parent.
For people with severe ADHD, mindfulness might be too challenging, but the practice can be rewarding for those with mild symptoms. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment. It uses techniques from meditation practices.
Trust that your child or teen might know what works for controlling their symptoms. Have open conversations to listen to their ideas and concerns.
Do you need help managing your child’s ADHD? Contact your local paediatrician or healthcare professional.