Parenting ADHD Kids - Creating a Positive Learning Environment for ADHD Children
Each child is unique and wonderful in his or her own way. Learning how to parent a child with ADHD in order to prepare them for school is a challenging but rewarding experience for parents. Home may be a safe haven for children, but once they get to school, they get labeled a lot of things because of their ADHD. Creating a positive learning environment for ADHD children at home will help prepare them for the people and challenges they will encounter outside the home.
First thing that parents must remember is that they should focus on knowing and loving their children the right way. The people outside your home will either misunderstand children or oversimplify ADHD kids rather than really get to know them or help them get to know themselves.
Getting the basics right
The basics of a positive learning environment for ADHD children is pretty simple. Children need to have a connected childhood. They must feel a positive affinity to the people, places, and things that they love. When children have a healthy connection at home, it helps them a lot against feeling rejected or misunderstood by the people outside the home.
Children who enjoy a connected childhood will also lead to healthy activities at home. For children with ADHD, play is a very important component of a happy home life. In fact, integrating play into academic activities creates a positive learning environment for ADD/ADHD kids. Integrating play into a child's daily routine, whether he/she has ADHD or not, promotes an attitude that makes a child want to do more and be more. They look forward to activities and doing things with their family.
How to create a positive learning environment
It's important for parents to understand that no child is perfect. Learning becomes a negative experience when adults force children to aim for academic achievement while missing the entire point of the exercise. For example, when sitting down with your child to do homework, the experience has the potential to either be a negative or positive one for both of you. When you push your child to complete his homework just for the sake of completing it and becoming the best or getting a high grade, it focuses on the wrong thing. Helping your child master a problem, on the other hand, takes time but yields a more important by-product which is a healthy self-esteem.
For ADHD children, what's more important than being the best is achieving progress.
Here are a few tips parents can use to help their children adjust to school work better:
- Make it easy to organize - One of the most common sources of parents' stress towards their children with ADHD is their inability to organize their room and their things. In order to foster a positive learning environment for ADHD children, one must work on setting up an environment that encourages organization. For example, buying a school bag with many compartments to help organize school materials helps. Buying a binder that has divisions for different subjects can be helpful too. Have colorful sticky notes around the house which your child can use to post reminders. There are stores that specialize in selling add-friendly products which parents might want to look into.
- A large calendar - Some students find it easier to keep track of their upcoming deadlines by putting up a large calendar on their wall. Parents can help set it up and design it. A large, visually stimulating wall calendar can be a simple but effective way of helping ADHD kids keep track of what they need to turn in for school.
- Routines - Being creative with your evening routine can be a good way to get your child ready for doing homework at night. Doing something fun before diving into the task can help your child focus on homework, and doing this consistently every night will be even better.
- Have a proper place for everything - Organizing is a lot easier when there's a proper place for everything in the house. It helps to have shelves in the mud room or near the door that's neatly labeled so that children will have a place to put things they need to grab before running out of the house. Establish a routine where your child checks his/her bag every night before going to bed just to make sure everything needed for school is in there. You can help your child sort through his things on the weekend and clear out things that will not be needed next week. Have a place for school correspondences, for homework that are to be turned in, for papers that have been graded and given back.
- Praise progress - This is perhaps the most important component to creating a positive learning environment for ADHD children. When parenting children with ADHD, it's sometimes really easy to get critical of all the things they forget to do. However, valuing your child's little victories does more to improve his/her self-esteem than criticisms ever will. Take the time to look for positive improvements and praise the things that your child is doing well.