Lock down measures and quarantine due to the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic has turned the daily routine for many families across the country upside down.
For kids with ADHD, this means a disruption in their normal daily routine, which can worsen their symptoms.
This article will discuss what ADHD is, how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can trigger or worsen the condition, and how to cope with the symptoms.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive (impulsive), inattentive, or a combination of both.
Boys are more likely to have ADHD than girls and the behavior can differ in both of them. For instance, boys with ADHD may be more hyperactive and struggle with self-control than girls who tend to be more inattentive or seem distracted.
According to data from the CDC, ADHD affects approximately 6.1 million children in the United States. This figure represents 380,000 children aged 2-5, 4 million aged 6-11, and 3 million aged 12-17 years.
Coping Tips for Children with ADHD During a Pandemic.
Children with ADHD fare better when they have daily routines and a schedule to follow as it creates structure in their lives.
Lockdown & quarantine measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the closure of schools, which is exacerbating the symptoms of children with ADHD, due to the sudden disruption of their routine activities.
This, in turn, can cause an increase in angry outbursts, hyperactive or impulsive behaviors, and problems paying attention.
As they currently do not have access to the resources that may have been available to them in school.
Here are some suggestions from ADHD experts on how you can help your kid with ADHD amidst the pandemic.
1. Communicate with the School
Children spend most of their time and day in a school environment. This means that their teachers are probably the first to notice any possible signs of ADHD. They are also the ones to give most of the help your child will need with schoolwork. Now that your child is learning from home, all of this instantly becomes your responsibility. A smart move is for you to contact your child’s school to know the support your child has been receiving in the classroom. This way you know how you can continue to follow those routines and strategies to guide your child, especially with schoolwork at home. Your child’s teacher can give you important information on how to keep your child focused, provide assistance with schoolwork, and supervise them until they complete it. Frequent and consistent communication with your child teacher or any other school staff that manages your child in school contact can help to ease the transition for both of you.
2. Structure your Child’s Day
According to Children and Adults with ADHD, creating structure and routine can help you and your family to adjust amidst the pandemic. This is even more important when you have a child with ADHD as they do not do well with uncertainty or an unpredictable schedule.
Creating daily and weekly routines for schoolwork, healthy activities, chores or relaxation may ease some ADHD symptoms.
The schedule you create should be the right balance between structure and flexibility. It should be enough to reduce anxiety, fit your child’s capabilities, and promote good habits.
3. Create a Calm Environment
A child’s immediate environment can have a profound impact on their mental health.
A child with ADHD has limited control over their emotions and their responses to a certain situation.
When your kid acts out of line, doesn’t do what you feel he/she need to be doing, or if they are doing things you feel they should not be doing, you instantly feel a certain level of frustration, impatience, and even anger.
In moments like this, your kid doesn’t need you to lose your cool. As difficult as it might seem they need someone who is calm, in control, and accepting of what they are experiencing.
Of course, this is not easy most especially when your pleading, threats, bribing & words of wisdom fails you. This can be even tougher if you have work to do, going through a tough time yourself or have other people’s needs to look after.
The best way to handle this is to identify settings and situations that can trigger an escalated emotional response in your child and eliminate or limit it.
In a chaotic environment, no learning can take place nor can problems be solved. However, a calm environment fosters concentration and enables learning. Here are some incredible suggestions to create a calm environment in your home;
• Be CALM!
• Practice breathing techniques.
• Know when to bend the rules.
• Engage in outdoor activities.
• Clearly inform your kid(s) what you expect from them for the day.
• Have designated rooms and spaces for playtime, relaxation, and meditation (if possible).
• Proactively teach your child to be calm and why it matters.