Children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, easily get distracted and lose their concentration, especially for the subjects and activities in which they don’t have any interest. ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention and high energy level in children. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this disorder affects about 3 to 5 percent children between ages of 5 to 17 years.
According to Mayoclinic, the common cause of this disorder can be exposure to environmental toxins during early childhood, pregnancy or heredity. Often this disorder poses a challenge to parents. Try to build a close relationship with your child rather than getting overwhelmed by the symptoms. According to Mayo clinic, medicines are prescribed to treat the symptoms of ADHD, but brain exercises can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and improve his or her concentration, memory, processing speed and impulse control. Exercises increase the neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine naturally which enhance the child’s ability to focus and there can be fewer requirements for medications. You can use a variety of exercise to channelize this energy into a productive path.
Brain Exercises For Children With Adhd
Child psychologist Dr. Robert Myers has developed a series of exercises that can improve the concentration of ADHD kids. According to him “the key is presenting them as games that are actually fun for parents and children to do together.” This seems to work on many kids with ADHD. One such game is the coin game. Keep piles of mixed coins on a table. Choose any five coins out of them and arrange them in a sequence. Ask your kid to carefully examine the coins and then cover the coins with a cardboard.
Ask your kid to make the same pattern from the remaining coins you have piled on the table within a specific time limit. Once done, note the time the kid has taken to finish and uncover the cardboard to see if the kid got it right. Repeat this exercise until the kid does it correctly. Your kid will surely enjoy this fast-paced game. This game will help to improve your kid’s concentration and memory.
For increasing the attention span of the child, play memory games with him. For example, ask your child to note the things in the room. Give him five minutes. Then ask him to close his eyes and ask him questions like how many pictures are there on the wall? What are the colors of the cushions? This type of game will bring your child closer to you and help to strengthen his short span attention.
Puzzles And Quizzes
Playing simpler games can also contribute to the child’s brain development with ADHD. Crossword puzzles and chess can help older kids to improve word memory, concentration and ability to form phrases in sequences.
For younger kids, fun games like finding the missing element and figuring out the mistakes may be more appropriate. With repeated playing, brain circuits are exercised and your child’s concentration improves. It is a good way to spend quality time with your kid and help him improve.
Physical exercises are equally important for kids with ADHD. Though it seems like that physical exercises work only for the body, but any cardio vascular exercise that increases the heart rate also increases neurotransmitters, thus improving the ability to concentrate. Dr. John Ratey, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, believes that aerobic exercise like running and biking can increase the dopamine level of the child and help in the development and growth of the brain.
According to Dr. Myers, teaching relaxation techniques like yoga postures and deep breathing combined with visualization can help a child with ADHD to improve his/her learning skills and concentration.
Channelize Kid’s Energy
It has been observed that kids with ADHD often have excess energy than a normal child. Try to channelize your kid’s energy by helping him learn structured classes like karate, dance, skating or swimming. This will help to build confidence and self-esteem in your kid while providing him an outlet to channelize his physical energy. Offer variety to options to your kid and let him choose the outlet that appeals the most to him / her.
Mind – Body Integration
Instruct your child to sit on a chair quietly without moving as long as possible and note how long the child is able to sit. Repeated practice over a month will definitely show improvement. According to Myers, this kind of activity helps to develop stronger neural connection between mind and body and help the child to learn self-control.
Establish A Routine
Performing some activities in the same sequence and order daily will help your child to learn discipline and focus on the task given. Give him responsibility of putting things in the same spot every day. This will help to build his confidence.
Parents should work together with their child and encourage their child with ADHD to perform these brain exercises and also track their improvement.