5 tips for communicating with children you know with ADHD
There are a lot of misconceptions about children with ADHD. Many people think they are hyperactive, rude, and don’t listen. Anyone who has ever met a child with ADHD knows that just isn’t the case.
They want to listen, to be involved, and they want to be accepted. They can be people-pleasers and will go out of their way to get on your good side.
When you have a child with ADHD, it is important that you talk to them about and keep them in the loop of what is going on in your life.
Here are 5 tips that will help you to do that. Please remember that all children are wonderfully unique, so some of these tips might be more helpful than others.
Tip #1- Pick The Right Time To Have The Conversation
You will want to pick a time when your child is at their calmest and they are not distracted by other things.
For example, you do not want to have a conversation just before dinner because hunger can be a huge distraction.
Make sure that they have no other plans made for the period of time when you want to talk to them and be aware that the conversation might last longer than you think.
Tip #2 – Make Sure That They Feel Accepted And Loved
Children with ADHD can take rejection really harshly and they also have a tendency to see rejection where there is none.
They tend to be hypersensitive to changes in inflection, and don’t like to upset the people they love. Some children with ADHD can develop Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria – you can read more about that here – starthereparents
So, what can you do as a parent to help your child feel included, loved, and accepted by you and the rest of the family?
Start by making sure you hand out praise as easily as you hand out criticism. This is something that most of us struggle to do in every area of our lives.
Tip #3 – Let Your Child Be Involved With And Contribute To The Conversation
Even for people who don’t have ADHD, having someone talk to you for a long time can be really hard to follow and can be very boring.
To make maintaining attention easier for your child, make it clear that you don’t mind if they ask you questions. You should also keep the conversation open and ask them questions to draw them back into the conversation.
You may find that having notes on hand can help so that you can get back to your intended conversation if a question leads you on a tangent.
Curiosity is a great trait that we should nurture and not shut down.
Tip #4 – Have Examples Prepared In Advance
Many children with ADHD talk about how lonely it makes them feel. Being surrounded by people who think in a different way to how you do can be alienating.
You can help your child work through these feelings by sharing examples with them of other people with ADHD who have both done amazing things and who make it through life on a daily basis.
Day-to-day tasks can feel impossible sometimes, and it can be really helpful to share tips with them from other people who have ADHD.
For example, “I see that you are finding your homework difficult. My friend John says he likes to take breaks every 30 minutes to help him concentrate. Shall we try that?”
Tip #5 – Avoid Using ADHD As An Excuse For Everything
It is common for children with ADHD to have low self-esteem and they are often looking for an excuse to make them feel like they are failing less. This can cause them to spiral and lose even more confidence.
This is something that we all want to avoid.
It is important to acknowledge that ADHD will affect how they approach a task, but that it won’t stop them from being able to complete it.
If something is not working out as they expected it would encourage trying a new approach and state they are not failing at the task. Talking to a child with ADHD is something that can be done, but you need to make sure that the situation works for your child as well as yourself. You need to think about when is the right time to talk to them, the best place, and be careful with your tone of voice.