Try these surefire ways to help your ADHD child focus without medication
Focus. It has been a keyword in our home since my son was around 2 years old. I find myself telling my children to Focus on what they are doing ALL. DAY. LONG. And not just my ADHD child, either – all of my children have times where they just need to slow down, take a breath, and start over while focusing on the task at hand. But that doesn’t always mean they know HOW to do that – they need our help to learn how to do this.
We all know, or at least we are learning, that an ADHD child has a lot of trouble with focus and/or attention. You might see this come out in their school work, or when they need to complete a task at home, or even just getting ready for school. Items get lost, they move onto something else before finishing, or they just never get started at all. They lack the tools to be able to focus properly – that’s where these tips come in.
Many children with ADHD do require medication but currently that isn’t the route for us. This does not mean that we don’t need to find other ways to help the ADHD child thrive. I know many parents that would agree – and are seeking ways to help their child focus without the use of medication.
Studies have show great progress in handling ADHD without using medications. After doing much research and observing what works with my own children, we have been using these 4 surefire ways to help the ADHD child focus without using medication. The goal we have in mind, and are working with our doctors on, is to retrain the brain and teach them new, good habits that will become automatic in the future, reducing the need to use medications.
4 surefire ways to help your ADHD child focus without medication
Studies have shown that daily exercise is not only a way to shape the major muscles of the body, but it is also a very effective way to work out the brain. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals – chemicals such as endorphines, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These chemicals released during exercise can all increase the child’s ability to focus and attention.
My own children participate in organized sports and we are able to see a huge difference in their mental focus and attention levels between the peak of the season when they are attending practices and games 3-4 times a week and the off season where they may only be exercising once or twice a week.
It doesn’t have to be organized sports, though, just getting outside for a long walk, bike ride, or running around with friends can do the trick! We try for outside play everyday and our children participate in sports such as swimming, football, baseball, running club, and karate.
Now, I am not a doctor or a dietician but the negative effects of certain food additive in children, especially those with ADHD, are quite well known. The results studies and recommendations of eliminating food dyes and other preservatives go back and forth but ask any parent with an ADHD child and they will likely tell you NO WAY, not in our house.
Over the years many more recommendations have come out regarding ADHD and diet – which foods to eat and which to avoid. There are many suggestions and recommendations for supplements to use as well. Bottom line, the child’s diet does effect them but each child is different and may need to eat/avoid different foods. We are currently working with our doctor to find the right balance of eliminations as well as the proper supplements to take to reach the optimum level of brain health to help increase mental focus.
Any child does well with a good routine in place but for an ADHD child, a routine can make the difference between a good day and a really really bad one. Daily routines provide the outside structure that they need so that they can focus on what they need to do.
Daily routines also train their brain to do these things automatically. Having a good morning and evening routine in place can help reduce so much of the stress involved with getting ready for school or bed.
Having a routine in place for daily activities is very important, but so is maintaining checklists to focus on certain tasks. Using checklists helps break down tasks so that they are not overwhelming to the ADHD child.
For example, telling your child to “go clean the bedroom” can seem like a giant mountain to climb, they don’t know where to even begin, become overwhelmed and then completely meltdown all before they even get started. By giving the child a simple checklist to follow with clearly labeled steps, you are breaking the giant mountain down for them so that they can take one step at a time and eventually climb their Mount Everest. It is much easier for them to complete one small task and cross it off before moving onto the next on.
We use checklists for morning and evening routines, chores, even packing the backpack so that they don’t forget anything. Find the areas that your child is struggling and create a checklist for them.
Have you found something helpful for getting your ADHD child to focus? I’d love to hear what strategies you’re using in your home and classroom.