Monday, November 9, 2020

DO I DISCIPLINE MY PRESCHOOL CHILD WITH ADHD WHEN HE CANNOT CONTROL HIS OWN BEHAVIOR?

 

Should preschool children with ADHD be disciplined when it is known that they cannot control their own behavior? Clearly, they do not willfully misbehave. As delineated in the diagnostic criteria that describe ADHD, these children are impulsive, hyperactive, and inattentive. Certainly, I would implement all of the interventions that you will read about or have read about in my first book, ADHD and Social Skills: A Step-by-Step Guide for Teachers and Parents. Sometimes, however, you may feel that your child needs something more.

 

Do you believe in time out? If you do, here is a caveat: By giving a preschool child with ADHD time out, you may be punishing him for behavior that he cannot control. When you tell a preschool child with ADHD that he has to go to time out, you take the chance of embarrassing him and making him feel poorly about himself. These children already have poor self-esteem. Why make them feel worse about themselves? When time outs are used with these children, they may just be counterproductive. “Unfortunately, using a time-out as a punitive method with kids diagnosed with ADHD may turn out to be counterproductive” (Armstrong, 2018, np). In fact, there is every reason to believe that preschool children with ADHD will just be more active when they are in a place where they are alone. They will, in all likelihood, stimulate themselves. What is the alternative? What these preschool children with ADHD need is a place where they can try to achieve some quiet and relaxation. Permit them to have control over the time that they spend in a place that they choose.

 

In fact, give your child a Time Timer1 and tell him to make a decision on the length of time that he will spend there. You can call it “the quiet place,” “the relaxation place,” or whatever your child wants to call it. There is no reason to make your child feel worse about himself than he already does by making him go to a typical time out. You can instead help your child to realize that he needs some time to unwind. What can he do in his quiet time? He can look at a book, listen to a book, draw a picture, listen to music, or do something else that he enjoys, such as a puzzle.

 

Because you’re changing the purpose of a time-out from passive punishment to working out problems, suggest activities that your child can do in the time-out area to help him gain control and feel better. Possibilities include

 • Visualizing an image that helps him cope (a special place in nature, a favorite trip, or an imaginary journey).

 • Meditating (focus attention on the inflow and outflow of breath, notice distractions that pop up, and return to focus on the breath). • Doing physical relaxation exercises (the yoga pose called the Cat) or imagining that you’re in a cozy elevator. As you feel it slowly descend, you feel more relaxed.

 • Thinking about, writing down, or drawing the solutions to his or her problem (Armstrong, 2018, np).

 

One other activity that your child can do when he is in his quiet place is for him to use a Me Reader. These are electronic readers that typically come with eight books. When you push the button, a voice reads a story to your child. One example is The World of Eric Carle. The instructions are located on the back of the book cover. These Me Readers are really quite entertaining because in addition to a pleasant voice reading your child a story, each story is accompanied by pleasant sounds. Each picture has a color-coded button that corresponds to the text box border on the page that your child is reading. When it is time to turn the page, your child will hear a pleasant chime.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

How can you Help Children with ADHD (and Similar Issues) to Adapt more Easily to Online Learning?

 

Here are some pointers:

1.     1.  Remain compassionate about your child’s negative feelings about online learning.

2.      2. Create a school-type environment by giving your child his own desk as well as placing it in an area with few distractions.

3.      3. In the morning, map out your child’s schedule for the day.

4.     4.  After going over his schedule, start him off by writing or drawing a picture of only one assignment on a post-it. When he completes his assignment, allow him to rip up the post-it and throw it away.

5.     5.  If you see that your child is distracted, shorten the work. He will gain more self-esteem by finishing a small amount of work than he will by not completing a longer assignment.

6.     6.  Make time for your child to exercise in some way, on a stationary bike, or on a walk outside accompanied by music to calm him.

7.     7.  At the end of the day, debrief your child. Discuss with him what was productive and what he could improve upon the next day. (Always talking in a positive way.)

 

 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Do Preschool Children with ADHD get Bullied?

 

YES! Preschool children with ADHD certainly do get bullied. In fact, in addition to preschool children with ADHD being bullied, they are also bullies. What does bullying encompass in terms of preschool children with ADHD’s behavior? The bullying might be kicking, knocking down a project, such as block building, being ignored, tripping, as well as not being allowed to play.

How do you convince your preschool child with ADHD to talk about having been bullied?

1.      Try to set up a time for a conversation every day.

2.      Do not put much emphasis on when the bullying happened.

3.      Talk about what happened.

4.      Encourage your child to discuss his feelings.

5.      Use books that have a focus on bullying to encourage your preschool child with ADHD to talk about being bullied.

Here are examples of some books that may help you to encourage your child to discuss the fact that he has been bullied:

Alexander, C. (2008). Lucy and the bully. Park Ride, IL: Albert Whitman and Company.

Best, C. (2001). Shrinking violet. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Henkes, K. (2008). Chrysanthemum. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, L.L.C.

Read the book one time to your preschool child with ADHD. Read the book again. Then, talk about bullying to your preschool child with ADHD. Ask him if anything like that has happened to him. The most important thing that you can do is LISTEN to whatever your preschool child with ADHD is saying about having been bullied. Do not interrupt your preschool child with ADHD’s train of thought. Give it a try!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Emotional Health of Preschool Children with ADHD During Covid

 

The world seems mixed up and upside down to most of us now, due to Covid. In fact, preschool children with ADHD may be worried, sad, and frustrated. Their symptoms may worsen due to their new inconsistent routine. They may experience stress due to changes in their routines,as well as a disconnect from family and friends and major events, such as birthday parties being cancelled. They may have feelings that they cannot control and have difficulty staying focused. One mom the other day told me in a zoom meeting that her daughter just simply walks around saying, “I’m worried, mommy,” most of the time.

What can you do to help your child to simply feel better?

1.      Try to maintain a routine.

2.      Be transparent and truthful about Covid and the need to quarantine if required.

3.      Validate your child’s experiences. Ask him open-ended questions so he is more likely to explain how he feels.

4.      Stay connected with their social networks so they continue to communicate with their friends and family.

5.      Be positive about as much as you can so that he may pick up on your attitude and respond in the same way.

6.      Respond intentionally to your child’s socially inappropriate behavior instead of reacting to it. By responding to his behavior, he will exhibit more socially appropriate behavior than socially inappropriate behavior.

7.      Exercise in some way and encourage your child to do the same in an effort to remain calmer and more relaxed. Even taking a walk or listening to music in an active way may diminish some of his hyperactivity.

 

Monday, October 26, 2020

DEVICES AND ACCESSORIES TO CALM YOUR PRESCHOOL CHILD WITH ADHD DOWN

 

Do you need devices to help to calm your child down? If your child is wiggly, you can try a Kore Design Wobble Chair. It is supposed to exercise muscles and relax children so that they are less hyperactive. Here are some more accessories that you can find on https://www. funandfunction.com/ or sometimes on https://www.amazon.com/.

• My Magical Cushion—This is a fidget seat that is supposed to reduce the wiggles.

 • Mushy Smushy Beanbag Chair—This chair is marketed to produce calming benefits.

 • Fishy Gel Cushion—This chair is supposed to permit the child to wiggle while he is doing something else.

• Mini Mushy Smushy—This chair is supposed to control the wiggles.

• Tactile Sensory Ball—This ball is supposed to make sitting more stimulating. Some other chairs and cushions that may help soothe your child’s energetic nature are the following.

• Hokki Stools—These stools are available on www.amazon.com and are marketed for children who are ages five to eight, so make sure that your child is at least five years old. While sitting still, this stool moves so that your preschool child with ADHD can use his energy as he sits and has a conversation or is involved in a quiet activity, such as coloring or drawing

• Disc ‘O’ Sit Jr. Cushions—These cushions are available on www.amazon.com. They help a preschool child with ADHD to achieve a balanced position when he is sitting.

• Howda Chairs—These are also available on www.amazon.com. These chairs are roll up, portable chairs. They can move back and forth and have adjustable straps in case you want your preschool child with ADHD to feel snug or loose.

• The many types of seating for active children found on the website www.moving-minds.com.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

THE GUILT: IS MY PRESCHOOL CHILD WITH ADHD’S INATTENTION, IMPULSIVITY, AND SOCIALLY INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR MY FAULT?

 

Here is where the guilt ensues. You may experience three sources of guilt. The first is related to your typical child. There is absolutely no time in the morning but to try to get everyone into the car to go to school. Sometimes, you forget something that your typical child needs for school and are left running there to bring him that object. You are left with such sad feelings because you forgot about his needs! By the time 9:00 a.m. arrives, you are definitely ready for a nap. However, in all probability, you have to get ready for work and travel there yourself! Additionally, you may be upset that you spend so much energy managing your preschool child with ADHD’s behavior, as compared to the time you spend with your typical child, but what can you do? Nothing!

 

The second is related to your concern that your preschool child’s ADHD is your fault. It is not fair to you. ADHD does run in families, but the reality of the cause of ADHD is unclear. It is not fair to blame yourself because there are so many possible causes for your child’s ADHD. As was stated previously, the reality of the cause of ADHD is not clear as of yet. “However, scientists have discovered a strong genetic link since ADHD can run in families. More than 20 genetic studies have shown evidence that ADHD is strongly inherited. Yet ADHD is a complex disorder, which is the result of multiple interacting genes” (https:// chadd.org/about-adhd/overview/#sthash.Dmdenc1v.dpuf). However, your preschool child’s ADHD may or may not have a genetic basis.

 

 The third is that you may be thinking that the cause of your preschool child’s ADHD may be related to your parenting skills or techniques. Whereas parenting skills do interact with your child’s behavior, they are not the cause of your preschool child’s ADHD. So, can you or should you blame yourself? No! First of all, blaming yourself for your child’s symptoms is not productive in terms of diminishing these symptoms. Second of all, condemning yourself for anything negative as related to your child is way too stressful.

 

In consideration of the fact that ADHD does run in families and you think that you have ADHD as well or have experienced the symptoms of ADHD in your lifetime, you are in a good position to help your preschool child with ADHD with his symptoms. If you did exhibit behavior similar to your child’s conduct, retrace your behavior as a child and think about how you behaved and how your parents managed your conduct. Additionally, ask your parents and other family members how you behaved as a child so that you will know if they intervened in any way and how they tried to help you diminish your socially inappropriate behavior.

 

Similarly, if you were distractible as a child, ask your parents how they helped you to try to become more attentive, if they did so. Did they try to help you at home based on their own ideas, or did they interact with your teachers and work together with them? What did they do to effectively help you? Did they feel that they successfully assisted you?

 

Were you impulsive as a child, either physically or verbally? Are you impetuous now? If so, how do you manage your own impulsivity? If your child is rash, think about your own impulsivity. Did your parents intervene in any way to manage your impulsivity? What did they do? Were they successful? The more information that you gather, the easier it will be for you to try to manage your preschool child with ADHD’s behavior.

Friday, October 23, 2020

WHAT STRESS SHOULD I ANTICIPATE IN TRYING TO MANAGE THE BEHAVIOR OF MY PRESCHOOL CHILD WITH ADHD?

 

The amount of stress that you experience depends to a large extent on what kinds of events cause you to become anxious. Some people become frazzled in their work environment and not in their home environment. For others, the opposite is true. How each person deals with the impact of stress is also individual. Perhaps stress and how each person responds to it may be related to whether or not these individuals have other successes in their lives. Perhaps it is related to whether or not they have friends. Perhaps it is related to whether or not they have a successful relationship with a significant other. Perhaps a person’s stress is related to something out of their control and of which they are not aware.

 

So, it appears that stress and how it affects each person is related to an intersection of many variables in their lives. It is also important how long that a person permits stress to affect them. Do you have stress at work and let it affect your interaction with your child? If your child spills a cup of juice on your wood floor, do you start yelling at him instead of realizing that these types of things happen and have him help you to clean it up? As has been stated previously, none of us are perfect. Therefore, if you have had a stressful day at work, on that day, it just may happen that you reprimand your child more harshly than he deserves.

 

Just remember, however, that preschool children with ADHD react differently than children who do not have ADHD. Their self-esteem may not be formed yet and in fact may be negatively impacted by their ADHD, so they may become more upset than a typical child. These children certainly do not mean to behave in an inappropriate way. Therefore, they are not exhibiting socially inappropriate behavior on purpose!

 

As I have stated previously, these children are somehow reprimanded and yelled at all too frequently, so if you have done so, just try not to let it happen all of the time. If it does happen, explain to your child that you have had a rough day at work and that you did not mean to yell at him for whatever he did.

 

A child’s socially inappropriate behavior may result in harsh parental reactions which may, in turn, increase the preschool child with ADHD’s socially inappropriate behaviors even more. It is possible that if you intercede by talking to your child about the negative behavior that you feel he should not have exhibited, you may have interrupted the child’s socially inappropriate behavior just enough to stop it for that moment.

 

 Back to stress. . . . The reality of raising a preschool child with ADHD is that you will be dealing with stress as related to the behaviors that your child exhibits, the reactions of people who witness your child’s behavior, the attitudes of teachers toward your child, and the responses of your family to seeing behavior that is in all likelihood dissimilar to their own child’s behavior. Additionally, and even more important is that trying to manage your child with ADHD’s behavior every minute of every day, as a preschool child said, is “super” stressful.

 

 It is imperative that you work on trying to control your own stress, (and clearly that is not easy), so that your child does not pick up negative signs from your behavior. You almost have to develop a turtle shell so that you are not constantly upset. Acting as if other people’s negative responses to your child’s behavior does not affect you is very difficult, but it is essential to try to do so.

 

The situation that is one of the most difficult is that every simple request that you ask your child to do may result in him behaving in a socially inappropriate way. That is arguably the most stressful part. The only way to diminish your stress (because you will in all likelihood not erase it) is to think intentionally and ahead of time about all of the possible socially inappropriate behaviors that your child might exhibit. In that way, when and if these socially inappropriate behaviors occur, you will have a plan of action as well as a barometer of your own stress.

 

Make a list of the socially inappropriate behaviors that you have observed over a five-day period of time. Next to each behavior, write a possible response for yourself. The use of the word “response” here instead of the word “react” should indicate to you that your behavior must be well thought out and planned. In the introduction to this book, you will find a discussion of this predetermined way of thinking. A reaction is a quick and uncontrolled behavior. A response is well thought out and strategic. The discussion of this thought process is stated again here to emphasize how important your behavior is to your child’s behavior. If you are organized and intentional in your mind ahead of time, you will respond (and not react) to your preschool child with ADHD’s behavior in the best way possible, while experiencing as little stress as possible.