There are a ton of self-help books out there and a variety of opinions on various techniques to help a child with ADHD become more focused. This won’t happen overnight, it takes repetition and consistency.
1. Spend More Time In Nature!
Walks on the beach or through a quiet wooded path can relax and soothe the brain. If your child has been struggling to try to maintain focus all day, they will suffer from “attention fatigue”. This happens to children with ADHD when heir brain needs to replenish itself and walking, sitting just spending time in nature seems to do that. Try to build that into their routine every day. Also, speak with their teacher to ensure that they aren’t missing outdoor recess.
2. Do Puzzles With Your Child!
All types of puzzles can help organize the brain. If the typical “make a picture” puzzle doesn’t appeal to your child try other types: memory games, word games, detective games – any type of puzzle that gets the brain working, thinking and problem-solving. Make it fun – try a treasure hunt in your yard or house where they must figure out the clues – and of course, make sure there is treasure at the end!
There is much research that shows that music can organize the brain. Some of us know that we feel better when we can listen to our favourite tunes. We can do powerhouse cleaning when we ramp up the volume on our playlist. Dr Ivan Barzakov PhD. Has spent years researching and developing music that helps the brain learn. It seems that classical music works best to organize our brain. Try playing this type of music on the way to and from school or just a bit before bed and see if you see a difference in your ADHD child.
4. Let Them Move!!
We’re all too familiar with the adage that students should be sitting still in their desks and not disrupting the class by wiggling, standing or moving around the classroom but this is hard for kids with ADHD. Thankfully many teachers have embraced differentiated learning by providing a variety of seating types in their classrooms. Research has shown that children that have challenges with focusing and attention need feedback from their nervous system for their brain to work better – that means moving. There are many solutions for school and home that can range from the inexpensive: fidget tools, chewing gum, wobble cushions, to the more expensive: Zuma Rocker chairs, stand up desks and tables, Wobble Stools. If a variety can be provided for your child and they can be encouraged to use them, their nervous system will respond positively.
5. Provide healthy food options!
Dr Daniel Amen and Dr Terry Small both tout the value of healthy, nutritious fuel for the brain. It can be challenging if your child is a discriminating eater but reducing the amount of sugar-filled and processed foods have shown to have positive effects on brain function. Try to pack in low glycemic, high fibre foods such as veggies and legumes, high protein foods that include nuts, eggs, fish & legumes and lots of water to hydrate the brain and the body. Again, it may take time to introduce new foods and wean your child off of less nutritious options – check out Pinterest for loads of tasty options!
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Useful links below
Centre for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Canada
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Foundation UK
CHADD: The National Resource on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder US