Many of you have asked me to do a post on non-medicine interventions for your children. Please be advised that, from a physician’s perspective, a stimulant (Ritalin, Adderall or Focalin) is still absolutely essential for academic success of your child. However, I would like to suggest a couple of other ideas that may be helpful for your child’s success:
- Create regular scheduled physical activities-Little league football teams, cheerleading, etc. This sounds ironic but you have to create as much of a normal childhood as possible for your kids. Don’t isolate them or make them feel different or abnormal.
- Create a Token Economy system-Learn early what makes them tick and or happy. The “Token economy system” has worked for years and it is proven to be effective in the sub-population of kids.
- Set reachable GOALS-You have to set goals that are realistic and obtainable for your child or children with ADHD. Comparing your kid, with this illness, with your other kids may not be a good idea. As a matter-of-fact, it is a bad idea and could lend itself to further acting-out by your child who has this mental illness.
- Maintain OUTDOOR activities-Research suggests that kids with ADHD do much better after participating in activities that require them to go outside. This is what I call the Oxygen effect.
- Watch the SUGAR INTAKE-Parents with kids who have ADHD have to learn to be “label readers.” Therefore artificial preservative and excessive sugars are just a bad mix.
- Assigned Regularly Scheduled Chores-Kids with ADHD must be given chores just like all other kids. They can not be exempt for structure and maturation.
- Maintain a “blame-free” environment-They may break things, trip and or fall. Please don’t get frustrated with your child for their errors. If you need a time-out, take a time-out. Unlock the pressure cooker everyday.