Cooperating with guidelines during a typical school day can be demanding for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known more commonly as ADHD. That is why choosing the right extra-curricular activity is so important. Parents of the child with ADHD need to find a balance between fun, success and schedule. Kids with ADHD are not all the same and so the right choice for one child will not necessarily be the right choice for another child. Those who work with children who have ADHD recommend parents keep the following things in mind.
1. Find a workable routine
If the child is struggling to keep up with the rigors of schoolwork, then consider choosing a weekend activity rather than one which meets on weeknights. Start by choosing just one extra activity and see how it goes before adding a second activity. Look for a schedule that optimizes the child’s potential for success rather than creating added stress.
2. Smaller is usually better
When choosing an activity, look for one that involves a smaller as opposed to a larger group. It is easy for the child with ADHD to become distracted in large groups – smaller group settings will help her stay focused.
3. Build on existing strengths
Think about what the child already does well or where she exhibits an aptitude and try to match those abilities to an outside activity. These extra activities work best when they build the child’s sense of self-confidence and achievement.
4. Get the leader/teacher on your team
Be open with the teacher or coach about the challenges your child faces. Let the person in charge know that a little bit of praise will go a long way and that extra patience will be needed.
5. Keep them active
Do look for physically active programs like martial arts, drama, scouting and swimming or things that build on their interests like art or robotics. Stay away from sedentary activities that involve lots of screen time like television and video games.
Parents of children with ADHD need support too. At Family Guidance Center, our team of mental health professionals can help you understand and manage the symptoms of ADHD and help you find ways to build your network of support. Contact us today.