How ADHD Children Can Control Emotions

When children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) practice controlling their emotions and impulsive outbursts, they will be healthier and happier at school and home.

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Practice Emotional Control at Home

Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Fatigue increases problems with emotional control. Schedules and daily routines help children better regulate their emotions, because they know what they have to do and handle.

Give your child coping strategies. She can say, “I need to go to my bedroom for a few minutes to be alone” or tell you a break is needed. Other self-soothing strategies include holding a favorite stuffed animal (for a younger child) or listening to relaxing music on an mp3 player (for an older child).

Help your child create a “hard-times board.” List three categories on it: 1) the triggers -- what makes your child upset; 2) the can’t-do’s -- the behavior that’s not permitted at times of upset; and 3) the can-do’s -- two or three coping strategies (draw a picture, take a five-minute break, get a drink of water) to help him recover from being upset. Praise your child when he uses one of the coping strategies from his board.

Read books on emotional control with your child. What to Do When Your Temper Flares and What to Do When You Worry Too Much, both by Dawn Huebner, describe coping strategies for taking control over unpleasant emotions.

Give your child a plan for problem situations. If your child gives up without trying when a homework assignment appears difficult, suggest, “Here’s what I want you to say to yourself before starting this: ‘I know this will be hard for me, but I’m going to keep trying. If I get stuck after trying hard, I will ask for help.’”

Show how you cope with emotional upset. For instance, “If I find myself getting cranky and I’m afraid I might say something mean, I’ll set the timer for three minutes and take a time-out to see if I can calm down.”

Emotional Control for ADD/ADHD Children

Children with ADD/ADHD: Health and Happiness
The Power of Praise: ADD/ADHD Parenting Done Right
Foster Your ADD/ADHD Child's Strengths
How to Foster Creativity and Confidence in Your ADD/ADHD Child

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