Today is Stress Awareness Day and as someone caring for a child with ADHD, stress is something you’ll know all about! So this week I wanted to give you three simple tips that can reduce your child’s stress levels … and help you keep calm too.
For ADHD kids, their world is a chaotic place and to help them cope, they try to grab control of anything they can – which often leads to battles! By giving your child a controlled choice they feel they are in the driving seat but really you’re the one making the decisions! If dinner time is a warzone, try offering two choices that you’re prepared to cook – it’s far less stressful for you both than imposing an open choice or a fixed decision. You can even use the “controlled choices” strategy with punishments: “Do you want to go to your room or help me clean the kitchen?”
- Keep calm yourself
Ever noticed how your child feeds off your emotions? When they’re heading for a meltdown, or you’re in the middle of an argument, expressing your own anger and frustration just feeds the fire and makes your child respond even more aggressively. Try to keep as calm as you can. Cut down the chat, don’t get drawn into an argument, and maintain a neutral expression and body language. It takes practice to do this, but it makes a huge difference to you both.
- Pick your battles
Trying to tackle all the unwanted behaviours at once is just asking for a stressful life, and one that neither of you will enjoy very much. Pick the biggest issue and work on that first. Be consistent, give praise when things go well and implement relevant consequences when they don’t. Work at it for a few weeks and only move onto another problem when you’re confident the behaviour has changed.
Have a stress-free week!