Being a parent can certainly be challenging, with play dates, soccer practices, homework, swimming lessons, and the general chaos of home and work. The problem of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can bring some extra challenges along the way if you have a child with it. Join us for a discussion on managing ADHD without taking medication.
In the United States, ADHD is a big problem. Little patients can suffer from too many side effects due to their medication. Natural methods can also be helpful.
According to estimates, there are 6.4 million children diagnosed with ADHD in America, along with the medication. Some parents, however, do not want to medicate their children daily. The common ADHD medication Ritalin is known to cause side effects, such as blurred vision, slow growth, restlessness, nervousness, and reduced appetite. There are also difficulties with keeping children on a medication schedule. In one study, only 22 percent had continued to take the medication two years later.
You can manage ADHD naturally by changing your lifestyle, eating habits, exercising routines, and other natural ways. We will cover six different strategies to avoid medication throughout this post.
Establish a routine so you can stick to it.
ADHD management begins with this.
A structured, routine-driven home and school life are generally best for children with ADHD. By focusing on daily tasks, they can stay organized and complete tasks each day.
Parents can find the morning commute to school one of the most challenging periods of the day. The night before, you can prepare the school supplies and clothing to have less uncertainty and stress.
Additionally, you can enhance your child’s learning experience by creating an organized environment at home. Your child can learn that all things have their own time and place and reduce clutter and make life more manageable.
Sleep is an Essential Part of ADHD Treatment
ADHD children who sleep better can make a huge difference in their lives. Typically, these children will also suffer from sleep disorders, which can worsen each other. Even a half hour’s more sleep can reduce impulsivity and restlessness, two of the symptoms of ADHD. You can gain that extra sleeping time by implementing good sleep practices. What are your options?
- Establish an evening bedtime that remains consistent over the weekend
- Cool, dark, and fresh air should be plentiful in the bedroom
- Creating a routine for bedtime will help your child sleep
Water Is Vital for Children with ADHD
Everything that dehydrates the brain will impact cognition and judgment since the human brain is made up of 80 percent water. According to a new study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, children with ADHD drank more artificially sweetened juice than kids without the condition. The number of glasses of water they consumed daily was also lower.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should drink between 7 and 10 glasses of water a day, depending on their age.
Children with ADHD have a lack of impulse control and focus that can be affected by their diet, so keep it clean.
Several American families have eating habits that contribute to the development of ADHD symptoms in children. It is often found in junk food, fast food, and even children’s meals at schools that simple carbohydrates are highly absorbed, proteins are low, and healthy fats are lacking. A child who snacked throughout the day may be eating processed foods high in sugar, synthetic flavors, or artificial colors, which can exacerbate ADHD symptoms.
If you want to teach children with ADHD how to eat at specific times and sit during meals, the structure is essential. It is possible for them not to eat at mealtimes if there is no structure instead of relying on snacks throughout the day.
A diet high in protein and low in sugar with no additives, along with supplements like iron, zinc, and fish oil, is proven to be beneficial for managing ADHD symptoms. Up to 70 percent of ADHD symptoms can be reduced by an elimination diet that omits sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs, and meat.
Children with ADHD need physical activity, so get them moving
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children with ADHD should get a minimum of one hour of physical activity per day and no more than one to two hours of screen time each day. Physical activity indeed burns off excess energy, but the benefits can be much broader than that. Dance, martial arts, or sports that encourage kids to pay attention to their movements can help them improve their concentration, thereby decreasing depression symptoms and anxiety.
Children with ADHD tend to benefit most from activities that involve constant movement. Sporting activities like gymnastics, running, tennis, and swimming are excellent for developing social skills and team sports like soccer, which keep children active and in motion. It’s important to share a little of your ADHD expertise with your coach so that they know how to react and behave around your child.
Instead of always scolding, encourage the right behavior. Behavioral therapy does work.
Behavior therapy has traditionally been used alongside ADHD medications but can also benefit those on their own. As part of behavioral therapy, rewards and praise reinforce desired behaviors, while limits and consequences are established to reduce destructive behaviors. A behavior therapy program is based upon three principles:
- Ensure that you are consistent – You should keep the goals, rewards, and consequences you have established throughout the child’s life.
- Consequences and rewards should be introduced – If children fail to exhibit the desired behavior, they will be rewarded.
- Establish specific goals – Parents should set goals for their children, including reading every night and working on their homework for a certain length of time.
It is possible to manage your child’s ADHD without medication, and in many cases, it is more beneficial than conventional treatments. We hope these relatively simple steps have demonstrated this to you.