Hyperfocus on Your Child

Children need attention, love, and praise, but sometimes, parents with ADHD are too distracted to deliver. Make your child the center of your world and give her the attention she needs with these tips.

A father with ADHD giving attention to his child by reading her a book
Father reading a book to his daughter. Vector illustration

Several weeks ago I was watching a high school basketball game. When we got home from the game, my daughter, who is one of the cheerleaders, told me: “You didn’t seem to be watching us when we did our cheers. You weren’t even watching me!” The truth is that I was more interested in watching the game. I wanted our team to win.

It got me thinking: Do we parents with ADHD pay attention to our kids when they need it the most? Are we able to drop everything from our minds and concentrate on our kids when they need our support? As a father who has ADHD, I know what it is like to be hyperfocused on one thing or so cluttered with thoughts that I miss chances to connect with the people I love. Sometimes those chances are here and gone before we know it.

Here are some tips for keeping your child at the center of your world:

1. Don’t multitask when spending time with your kid. Put down everything you’re doing and focus on him or her.

[9 Ways to Be a Better Dad]

2. Keep your promises. If you tell your children that you are going to spend time with them, follow through.

3. Make eye contact with your kids when talking with them, so that they know they have your full attention.

4. Show your children that you’re interested in learning about their interests, even if it means hearing about things that don’t interest you.

5. Fit your child into your daily schedule — ask him or her to help you with a task, such as shopping or putting stamps on envelopes.

6. Drop a note of praise or love in your child’s school lunchbox.