ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the growth of the brain or nervous system, and it affects how they feel, think, or control and express themselves. Children with ADHD tend to be hyperactive and struggle to control their impulses.
Though not all children with ADHD are hyperactive, the minds of those with hyperactivity are always on the run. This often gets in the way of productivity. Hyperactive children usually:
- Talk excessively.
- Interrupt others’ conversations.
- Interrupt others’ games.
- Struggle to ask for permission.
- Struggle to sit quietly and wait for their turn at an activity.
- Fidget a lot.
Calming Down a Child
All children are unique, and what may help one child to wind down may not necessarily work for another. Now that we know how hyperactivity presents, let’s look at ways to help calm your child down when they are in a hyperactive state.
Board games are an amazing distraction for kids with ADHD and can help them calm down. ADHD board games help children learn how to focus, work on memory and develop strategic planning skills.
Other than the skills your child will develop, board games promote family bonding and can be a great way to spend time together.
Build a Rapport
Calming a child when their energy is through the roof is not as simple as asking them to do so. You should first build a rapport with them by connecting with them and establishing trust. This can be as simple as joining in the activity they have going on.
Provide a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Though there is no definitive proof that particular foods cause ADHD, some foods can make ADHD symptoms worse. Such foods include:
- Energy drinks
- Fast foods in excess
These foods will have the opposite effect on a hyperactive child you are trying to calm down.
Introduce Breathing Techniques
Breathing as a way to self-regulate is a technique that every child should learn, and an ADHD child will benefit greatly from it. Breathing slows down your heart rate and shifts focus to a different thing. There are fun breathing exercises you can start with and incorporate into a wind-down routine.
Integrate Proprioceptive Activities
Proprioceptive activities are sensory activities that help calm a child and help them focus by centering their body. When incorporated correctly, these activities can help calm down a hyperactive child. They include:
- Crab Crawls. This is a fun activity that works on your child’s joints. It increases focus and is a great way to channel the energy they have.
- Hand squeezes. These are simple activities to calm your child and can include hand-to-hand presses, push-ups, and patty cake.
- Frog hops. Just like crab crawls, frog hops engage your child’s joints and help their brain focus on the activity they are doing.
- Chewing gum. Though this may not be a popular activity, chewing gum can calm your child. You will only have to ensure that the sugar levels in the gum are not too high. In fact, sugar free gum sweetened with xylitol actually prevents cavities, so even better!
Music is a great way to engage your child’s senses. Many experts suggest classical music, but you can choose any music that is soothing to your child. The main aim is to ensure that your child will enjoy the music. You can create a playlist beforehand, which they can listen to when it is time to calm down.
We all know the mental and physical benefits of exercise. For kids with ADHD, exercise can help them:
- Increase focus.
- Learn how to plan and prioritize.
- Improve their moods.
- Increase their appetite.
- Improve their sleep.
You can start with 10 minutes a day and increase it to 20 minutes with time. The exercises do not have to be complicated and you can start by taking a walk every day. You can also do them together so that it does not feel like another chore that needs to get done. This will be another amazing way you can bond with your child. When the weather is not favorable, you can easily find indoor exercises you can do.
Create a Dedicated Space for Them
Create a dedicated space for winding down. Your child will know it as the place they go to when they need to calm down. You can create a place with a boredom box with activities they enjoy. The box can contain anything from board games to art supplies. To make things more interesting, you can keep changing the contents of the box.
If your child is struggling with concentrating on homework, create a quiet space for them to work. Ensure this place is free from distractions.
Have routine and structure for your child. Whether you are on vacation, or your child is home for the holidays, stick to a routine. Children with ADHD thrive with routines and need that predictability. Incorporate timers and calendars to help them manage their time and schedules.