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Q: What Books Can Help Me Explain ADHD to My Child?

When a young child is diagnosed with ADHD in preschool or kindergarten, parents may struggle to explain the condition in clear, understandable terms. These book recommendations can help enormously in translating ADHD into words that a 5 year old can understand.

Q: “How do I explain to a 5 year old that he has ADHD?” — FloridaMom2911


Hi FloridaMom2911:

This question truly resonated with me since my son was diagnosed at the same age. At that time, my husband and I really struggled to figure out how to explain ADHD to him.

For a child so young, you need to find a way to explain ADHD in terms that are easy to understand. You also need to be able to answer his questions so you can normalize his feelings. Age-appropriate books are a wonderful way to do just that! Books engage children and offer story lines and characters with whom your son may identify.

Here are three ADHD books for kids that I recommend:

Baxter Turns Down His Buzz: A Story for Little Kids About ADHD: Written for children ages 4 to 8 with ADHD, this is the story of a high-energy rabbit who learns to control his activity level. I recommend this title if your child presents with impulsivity, as it offers strategies to help “turn down the buzz.” Bonus? This book includes guided notes for parents, too.

Ellie, The ADHD SuperGirl: ADHD Book for Children: This book helps teach children about ADHD. It specifically helps them understand that they’re the same as everyone else, though they interact with and learn a little differently than others. Bonus? This book is beautifully illustrated.

[Get This Download: The All-Time Best Books on ADHD]

My Brain Needs Glasses: ADHD Explained to Kids: This book is told from the perspective of Tom, an 8-year-old boy with ADHD. Through his imaginary journal, he shares his daily life, helping children and parents to better understand and cope with ADHD. Bonus? It’s packed with effective practical tips.

Remember that, no matter how you tell your son, it’s critical to remind him again and again that:

  • He is loved and accepted
  • He is not flawed in any way
  • He is not alone because there are many other children just like him
  • He has many strengths (you can list them if you like)

One conversation is just the start. Keep your explanations simple and age appropriate and the lines of communication open. Be sensitive about giving him more information than he is able to process and don’t go faster or further than he is able to.

Good Luck.

[Click to Download: Free 13-Step Guide to Raising a Child with ADHD]


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Updated on December 3, 2019

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