Ah yes! The tool box is something I don’t leave home without. I might forget to look in it, but I don’t go anywhere without it. As an adult Mom of 3 with a hefty case of ADHD, I need all the tools or strategies I can get to get me through my day. I try to update my strategies when I find something new and work to delete the strategies that no longer work. I have read a lot about changing one’s diet, sleep habits and more and have come to the decision that this is just another thing to ‘manage’. What about the days when I am tired? hungry? or otherwise. I still need the tools to know how to get through my day without self-destructing. I have decided that it is much more important for me to focus on building up my strategies to know how to cope when the circumstances around me are not exactly conducive to catering to my needs. When talking to parents of children that I teach, I try to stress this point. The reality is that our circumstances will not always be kind to our individual needs and it is so important to equip our children with a set of tools that they can use to navigate the world. I do not believe in placing labels on children and my workplace has helped me grow even more in accepting a child right where they are at.
Helping our children recognize their challenges and practice strategies that help, allows them to have some ownership and control over something that can seem overwhelming to them. I know that there are days when I look around me and think….if the world could just cooperate a little with my needs today how fabulous would that be? In particular, I have read about parents seeking to minimize symptoms etc. of ADD/ADHD through adjusting diet etc. which I think is great however, as your child grows and becomes more in control of their own eating habits and so forth, they will need these tools/strategies. If we help children early on to embrace challenges that are innately in their DNA…(and you know what I mean if you and your child experience this), then we help them learn what works best to help them get through the day, then diet and sleep hopefully become less relevant to ruling our days.
This is not an easy thing but I truly feel it is an important thing. I have been working with some parents about how they can embrace their children through the challenges and how to tweak the environment just a little to see what works. For parents whose children have a really hard time listening during story time, try giving them a clipboard and letting them draw or write. Engage another sense for them and you may just be amazed at the increase of their ability to focus on what you are reading. Try playing some music softly in the background. Perhaps a favorite classical cd or something that they are familiar with so it is not distracting… I also suggest adding an aroma, you can sprinkle a little essential oil (I use grapefruit oil particularly for focus) on a smooth beach pebble or rock and place it in a votive holder for instance. You can also get a diffuser for a light bulb if you want to. Try it out…
Building my strategies daily and adding tools to the tool box! Like I said, I don’t leave home without it…I just need to remember to open it up and look in it!