Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 10 October 2021
Table of Contents:
- How To Prevent ADHD In Children
- Good Prenatal Care in ADHD Prevention
- Diet and ADHD Prevention
- Structured Routine In ADHD Prevention
- Behavior Management in ADHD Prevention
- Bad Behaviour and Negative Consequences
- Start Teaching Attention Skills Early
How To Prevent ADHD In Children
Although there is no cure for ADHD, there are methods to help all children feel and perform at their best at home and at school.
Good Prenatal Care in ADHD Prevention
ADHD has been related to pregnancy complications. Staying healthy during your pregnancy will help to ensure that your child does not develop ADHD. It is important to maintain a balanced diet and visit the doctor on a regular basis. Avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs is also essential.
Children whose mothers smoked while pregnant have a twofold increased risk of developing ADHD. According to some research, lead exposure during pregnancy, as well as lead exposure in childhood, can be related to ADHD. Other studies are looking into the possibility of a connection between ADHD and premature birth.
Diet and ADHD Prevention
Providing a healthy, nutritious diet for your child from an early age is beneficial to all children, whether or not they have ADHD.
Most experts agree that changing a child's diet will help them become less hyperactive. Ben Feingold created a common diet to help people with hyperactivity. It's an elimination diet that eliminates artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives from your diet. The diet has not been embraced by the medical community, and several reports have refuted Feingold's hypothesis. Nonetheless, several parents who have tried the diet say their child's behaviour has improved.
There is no scientific evidence that links ADHD to sugar consumption. Sugars and carbohydrates from processed foods can impair a child's activity level by rapidly increasing blood sugar levels. This blood sugar spike can result in an adrenaline rush, causing a child to become more active, followed by a “crash" in activity and mood as the adrenaline levels return to normal.
Parents are advised to consider eliminating such foods from their children's diets if they believe the foods are adversely affecting their children's conduct. It's commonly better to start by eliminating one food or category at a time so you can be sure the impact you're seeing is due to the category you're removing. However, some researchers believe that behavioural changes are caused by the way families communicate with one another while on an elimination diet. The child's attitudes may improve as a result of receiving more attention from the parents, not because of the diet.
It's important not to overdo it. Nutritional deficiencies will occur if you limit your child's diet too much. Doctors and dietitians will assist you in developing a balanced eating plan for your children.
It's crucial to balance the risks and benefits of elimination diets, particularly for children who may be experiencing a loss of appetite as a side effect of many ADHD medications.
Structured Routine In ADHD Prevention
Structured routines and consistent expectations benefit all children, but particularly those with ADHD.
Maintain a regular routine visible to your child so they are aware of what to expect. This regular schedule should include designated times for the following activities:
- Getting out of bed
- Meal preparation
- Completing homework
- Performing household chores
- Watching television
- Participating in extracurricular sports
Once you've created a plan, stick to it as closely as possible every day. If there will be some schedule changes, make sure your child is aware of them ahead of time. Although posting a schedule will not prevent ADHD, it will aid in your child's ability to remain focused.
Getting a homework schedule in place for older children, whether they have ADHD or not, will help them get something out of their after-school time. Set aside a space for homework that is free of distractions. Small breaks during homework time can also be beneficial, particularly if your child is hyperactive and has trouble staying focused.
Behavior Management in ADHD Prevention
Many therapists agree that using behaviour management techniques will help you influence your child's behaviour.
The first step is to develop a healthy parent-child bond. This can be accomplished, according to therapists, by spending quality time with your child every day — your child's “unique time." Allow them to choose an activity during this period. Then all you have to do is enjoy your child and their hobbies.
When the child performs well, the next step of behavioural management is to use positive reinforcement. Reward and praise them for their efforts. It's possible that your child would act better on a more regular basis. Experts recommend that parents acknowledge and reward their child's positive conduct at least five times a day.
Maintain a fair level of expectation. Focus on just a few activities at a time and base them on what's suitable for your child's age. Explain to your child what kind of actions you want from him or her in order to be rewarded. If you come up with a few suitable incentives and let your child choose from them, they can feel more invested in the programme. This will increase the chances of success.
It's important that your child understands your expectations. When you speak to them, one way to do this is to look them in the eyes. Then, in a calm voice, make all of the directions very clear, quick, and succinct. To ensure that your child understands the instructions, have them repeat them back to you.
After that, it is important that you maintain consistency. It sends mixed signals to your child if you don't always reward good behaviour.
If your child's teacher uses a behaviour or incentive scheme in the classroom, attempt to replicate it at home. To reward good conduct, often teachers use points, stickers, or colour-level schemes.
Bad Behaviour and Negative Consequences
Negative outcomes for poor conduct are the last step in behavioural management.
It's important to describe bad behaviour to your child explicitly once more. You'll be able to ensure that they understand what's expected of them this way.
Begin by outlining what is and is not appropriate conduct, as well as the consequences of that behaviour. After that, go over the negative effects of bad behaviour.
Consistency is essential. Don't be too strict. Negative impacts for inappropriate actions are contentious, and no matter how angry you are, you should never be cruel or violent.
Send children with ADHD daily reminders of anticipated actions and implications for behaviour therapy to succeed. Writing down the rules, outcomes, and incentives is one way to do this. Then show them so your child can see them. You can draw pictures or print photographs for younger children as a visual reminder.
Children with ADHD often need regular updates on their development. They may be better at achieving short-term targets than long-term ones. Change the reward scheme often to keep them interested.
Start Teaching Attention Skills Early
Play games, create with blocks, and solve puzzles with your preschooler. It's a smart way to hone your attention skills. A good way to teach your child to pay attention is to read to them. It can also make a child relax and pay attention if you show them a lot of love.
Although not everyone agrees, some psychologists believe that watching excessive television can impair a child's ability to learn to pay attention. Whether or not television induces attention deficits, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children under the age of 18 months watch very little television. The academy also recommends that children between the ages of 2 and 5 watch no more than 1 hour of television a day. At any age, video chatting with toddlers/babies is usually considered appropriate.
Referenced on 1/5/2021
- American Academy of Family Physicians: “ADHD: What Parents Should Know."
- Attention Deficit Disorder Resources: “Behavioral Treatment for ADHD."
- ADHD Library.org: “Teaching Attention Skills to Children with ADHD."
- MedlinePlus: “Hyperactivity and Sugar."
- Preventive Interventions for ADHD: A Neurodevelopmental Perspective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441940/