Unique needs of an ADHD family
Once you have an ADHD child, you may need to adapt your diet, habits and family routines.
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  • Education. The more you know about the condition, the better you will be able to support your child and the rest of the family. By explaining what ADHD is and how you can work WITH the condition, instead of against it, you will help the whole family work together.  How the parents approach ADHD will set the tone for the rest of the family.
  • Very often the whole family's diets need to change. This means that siblings will need to understand why there aren't sweets in the house, for example.
  • Routine and order. Daily routines and schedules help provide consistency. Try and keep the time that your child wakes up, eats, does homework, goes to bed, etc. the same each day. Also, wherever possible, keep these rules the same for each child in the family.
  • Cut down on distractions. Set some firm rules about everything having its place (and everyone knowing where what goes), when the TV can be on, etc.
  • Avoid drama where possible. Extremely active children are a hazard for breakables, antiques and priceless heirlooms. Keep these locked away and out of sight.
  • Responding in anger often escalates the situation and over-stimulates the child with ADHD. Teach yourself and all family members how to react in a calm manner whenever possible (even to exciting, happy events).
  • Siblings need special alone time with you (without your ADHD child). Pay special attention to your other children's needs, even if they aren't as extreme as ADHD. Try and spread your attention as evenly as possible.
ADHD  and the extended family

  • Advise your relatives on your child's behaviour before you visit.  For example, ‘Chris battles to sit still but if you can give him something to hold in his hand while we eat at the table he should be fine.’
  • Prepare your child. ADHD children do best when they know exactly what to expect. So tell them why you're going to visit his/her grandparents (a birthday, anniversary), who will be there and how long you think you will stay.
  • Give thought to special events. Crowded events can over stimulate a child with ADHD. Being a ring bearer at a wedding may be too overwhelming, but handing out programs at the door might be more manageable for instance.
Read more about how ADHD affects the family.

How does your family fit in with your ADHD child?

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