I have a son who was recently formally diagnosed with ADHD. I know every parent makes the decisions they think are the best for their children and family, so I am not judging when I say this, but I never want to medicate him. I want to find a healthy alternative. The thing that comes up the very most in my research is the importance of consistency and the importance of routine.
In our house we’ve always been an eat when we’re collectively hungry, not a family that always has dinner at 5 or 6 PM. Though in the last few weeks I have changed that, I made an eating schedule, and even a loose but full play schedule for him. It has done wonders. Now, I am no expert, though you can’t argue results.
My Buggy is 7, he is in 2nd grade. When he comes home in the afternoon he puts his things away (instead of throwing them on the floor, which is a big step), and gets started on homework. This has been a consistent change for all of the new year so far. He then usually unloads the dishwasher, and he knows that this is coming so he prepares. It makes me so happy to see the change in him that we got from having a pretty solid routine. He has also started to get better grades in Spelling. Spelling has always been his downfall in the academic world. In the last 2 months he has gone from getting between 3-6 out of 15 right, he now gets between 8-10 out of 15. That is seriously a huge step for him. I keep seeing improvements across the board.
We also made a behavior chart. I didn’t put anything negative on the chart because I felt it should be an encouraging thing. He earns points, and has to save them to buy rewards. This is really great because he has a goal. Having something to work towards is such a motivating factor I don’t think I could have done it any other way. The negative behaviors I recently started logging. So, when he talks back, ignores me, or directly disobeys a rule we log it and at the end of the week we review his trouble areas. He then works really hard to avoid those things the next week.
The best thing about this is that it keeps him thinking about his actions. He has become so very self aware that he often tells me when he was thinking of doing something against the best wishes of everyone, and says something cute like, “I was just about to talk about that game you don’t want me to play, but instead I decided to just push it out of my mind.” He still brought it up, but he didn’t insist on telling me “just one thing” about it.
There are always chances for good or bad days. It’s about how we look at the next day and move forward that really matters. Especially when there are little people watching you, looking up to you to learn how to survive in this crazy world. I am trying to teach this to my boys and let them understand that you don’t have to let one bad day dictate how an entire week or month is going to be like.
A question for families with ADHD children: How do you encourage good behavior in your ADHD children?