8 Tips To Help Your ADHD Child Reduce Stress
If your child has ADHD, you know that their physical hyperactivity or inattention aren’t the only symptoms they struggle with. Children with ADHD also typically feel the effects of stress more than other children.
For children with ADHD — even for those without the hyperactive component — their minds are often racing with thoughts running in several different directions at once. ADHD symptoms like frustration and impatience can compound feelings of stress and anxiety, and it can be harder for children with ADHD to manage those stressful feelings.
The strategies you use to help your ADHD child reduce stress should serve to lower their physical hyperactivity, help them stay focused, and calm their thoughts. The following tips can help.
1. Encourage Daily Exercise
Physical exercise increases the brain’s serotonin levels and helps combat the stress hormone cortisol. Getting at least 20 minutes of exercise each day can help reduce stress, depression, and other ADHD symptoms. Even a short walk can help your child calm down during moments of high activity.
Walking or jogging outside in the open air is one of the best ways to get some exercise. But when outdoor exercise isn’t possible, or if you have difficulty finding a form of exercise that your child wants to engage with, try inviting them to help you with safe, “heavy” work at home. Kids enjoy helping their parents, and activities like pulling, pushing, and lifting can help regulate their activity. Video games that incorporate exercise are another great option when exercising outdoors isn’t possible.
2. Try Yoga, Meditation, or Deep Breathing
Practices like yoga, meditation, tai chi, or deep breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and foster a sense of wellbeing. Incorporating any of these practices into your child’s day can help them learn to slow down their thoughts as well as their bodies.
Simply taking 10-20 slow, deep breaths can alleviate stress significantly. The key is to focus on the breath and the body rather than on what’s happening in the mind.
Have your child sit in a quiet place and breathe in slowly through their nose while counting to ten, then release each breath slowly. As they do this, ask them to notice the sound of their breath as well as the sensation of their stomach rising as they breathe in and falling as they breathe out.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Deep breathing exercises like this are one way to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply the practice of learning to be present in the moment. The key word here is practice — mindfulness is something that needs to be cultivated over time with regular practice.
Mindfulness meditation, when practiced regularly, is a wonderful way to reduce stress. In fact, one study found that students who meditated twice per day experienced a 50% reduction in stress and anxiety along with improved ADHD symptoms after only three months.
Practicing meditation doesn’t require a lot of time — even 10-20 minutes a day can significantly reduce stress.
4. Play Soothing Music
Playing soothing music in the background during homework time, dinner time, before bed, or in other moments that call for lower activity levels can help children calm down and regain focus. Classical music is the most commonly used option, but you can try out different kinds of music to learn what works best for your child.
5. Incorporate Structure
Although they may not always like structure, children with ADHD thrive in a structured environment. Rules and routines let them know what to expect, and this can help calm their anxieties.
Disorganization is a common ADHD symptom that leads to stress. Consistently enforcing rules and maintaining a routine schedule can help children with ADHD feel more centered and less scattered, and therefore less stressed.
6. Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors in managing ADHD symptoms and reducing stress. It’s especially beneficial for combatting the symptom of inattentiveness, which can often lead to increased stress.
To ensure that your child gets enough sleep, make sure they are getting plenty of exercise and try to maintain a consistent schedule for going to bed and getting up. And stick to that schedule even on weekends.
7. Make Time for Fun and Laughter
For children with ADHD, emotions can run high, and it’s common for them to get stuck in negative thoughts. Focusing on the negative can increase stress and anxiety exponentially.
Laughter can lift low spirits, ease stress, improve mood, and even help with concentration. Taking regular time for play is not only fun — and something all children need — but it can also help your ADHD child break out of negative thought patterns.
8. Stay Calm Yourself
Your ADHD child will often react to your stress level. If you are upset or frustrated, you may notice their hyperactivity levels or inattention symptoms increase. Take the time to manage your own stress, doing your best to stay calm and use a neutral voice when you are around your child.
Bonus: Improve ADHD Symptoms With Brain Training
If your child struggles with ADHD, brain training with LearningRx - Atlanta Buckhead can help. More clients come to us with an ADHD diagnosis than any other condition, so we have a lot of experience with this struggle.
Over many years of working with ADHD clients, we have found that brain training helps improve processing speed, working memory (i.e., short-term memory), and long-term memory, as well as broad attention skills. Improvement in these areas will not only boost school performance, but can also help your ADHD child reduce stress and improve their overall quality of life.
Reach out to us today to learn more about how brain training programs at LearningRx - Atlanta Buckhead can support your child.