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Parent Education Tips: Parenting Kids with ADHD

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 3/11/2010

If your child has ADHD, parenting can be quite a challenge. Behavior as well as school performance can suffer. The good news is that there are some simple strategies that parents can arm themselves with to make life much easier. ADHD education for parents can help with the challenges they face.

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    Bedtime Tips for Parents

    Bedtime should be a quiet time: Calm things down an hour or so before bedtime. Doing this will go a long way in preparing your child for sleep. Try a bedtime routine that incorporates quiet activities. You may choose to give your child a bath, read a short story, brush teeth, then get dressed for bed. Whatever the routine, don't allow any rough or loud play.

    Aromatherapy: Use tart warmer or aromatherapy candle in your home that exudes a calming scent. Try lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, or chamomile.

    Relaxing Music: Children love music, and relaxing music can help calm the atmosphere in your home. Play relaxing, quiet music in your home in the evenings before bed.

    Avoid Caffeine Before Bed: Don't allow sugary, caffeinated beverages in the evenings. This could really increase excitability in your child, and cause sleep problems.

    Regular Exercise: Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise. Regular exercise will help your child get rid of anxiety and stress. It will help relax your child, burn off excess energy, and bring restful sleep.

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    At Home Parenting Tips for Better Behavior

    Try to use positive reinforcement. Catch your child being good! Provide as many positive statements as you can, while being truthful. Instead of only stressing the problems and bad behaviors, point out the good things he/she has done. Make sure your child understands what is being asked of him. Ask him to repeat back to you any instructions you have given. Always make eye contact when you are speaking to your child. Don't give your child a laundry list of requests. Instead, give him/her one direction at a time. Provide requests in writing when you can.

    Kids with ADHD benefit from a structured environment. Keep a predictable morning and evening routine in the house. Give your child an established bedtime, making sure he/she gets plenty of sleep. Make every effort to stick to the set bedtime. If your child has a sitter or other caregiver, stay connected with the other caregiver, and make sure the routine remains constant in your absence.

    Use reward charts with incentives. Change the incentive frequently, because kids with ADHD need a variety to stay interested. Immediate rewards work better, but you can build your rewards to receive one big reward in a set period of time. Make sure to display the rules in the house and consequences for breaking the rules. Talk to your child about how he/she could have done better when he/she breaks a rule. Stay consistent with consequences. Once your child is made aware of a consequence you must stick to it. If you don't, the behavior will become a lot more difficult to control because the child will always believe there is a chance of not having to face a consequence.

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    Online Help

    Printable ADHD Handouts for Parents:

    A Parent-Teacher's Guide to ADHD (requires subscription)

    Free Printable Resources for Parents

    Behavior Checklist

    ADHD Forums for Parents:

    ADD/ADHD Forum

    About.com adhd forum

    ABC Homeopathy Forum for ADHD

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    Resources

    1. Free Printable Behavior Charts.com: http://www.freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com/parenting_adhd_and_spirited_kids.htm

    2. Teacher Vision: http://www.teachervision.fen.com/add-and-adhd/printable-book/53958.html?detoured=1

    3. Pediatric Neurology.com: http://www.pediatricneurology.com/symptom.htm

    4. About.com: http://add.about.com/

    5. ABC Homeopathy: http://abchomeopathy.com/forum2.php/21/