Forgetfulness, distractedness, inattentiveness and disorganization are hallmarks of ADHD. Treatment for ADHD often focuses on the individual; with a long list of medications, therapeutic options and skills to master. At the Institute, we look at the bigger picture. Children are more likely to incorporate executive functioning skills when they are surrounded by simple rhythms and organized environments. Here are 3 starting points to help you to teach your child through example:
Look at your home from a new perspective. What are the different rooms in your house teaching your child about organization? Is there laundry overflowing, mail stacked on tables, and clothing peeling out of draws? How can we talk to our children about their lack of organization when their environments are chaotic? Start with decluttering. Donate or rotate toys and books that are not being used. Keep a handful of special toys and books accessible and consider different ways to store them when not in use. Tackle the messiest areas in the house ( like the laundry room) and come up with a system to keep these spaces organized. Go through every-ones clothes and minimize. Adopt a mantra of Simplicity.
Children need “down-time” to process sensory stimulation, to nurture creativity and to emotionally regulate. Families are completely over-scheduled and our children are suffering due to the excessive stimulation. Have a look at your schedule and give your-self permission to cut back on any extraneous activities. Schedule in down-time and give your children the gift of (screen free) boredom. Beautiful things happen when we create a space for quietness.
Children thrive when their world is predictable and safe. Rhythm allows for a deep sense of ease where children can focus on the work of childhood. Rhythm is built on predictable routines and schedules. Waking up at a similar time every day, a breakfast routine, greeting rituals on returning home from school, dinner time traditions and a bedtime routine become anchors for a child. Traditions like pancake Saturday or family walks add to the rhythm. Some children respond beautifully to visual calendars, while other families are using family-share apps to help maintain rhythm. Reflect for a moment on your families rhythm. What is a strength of your rhythm and what needs to be revamped?
Above all, think about how you connect as a family. How present are you with one another? Do you authentically listen to one another? Start a practice where everyday, for just 5 minutes, you really listen to one another. In doing so, we embody the skills that we want to teach to our kids and we invite the possibility of a deeper connection.
Be still. Living simply. Guide with Love.
November 1, 2018 | Tania Johnson R. Psych