Are you the parent of those kids that run up and down the aisles of the grocery store? Do you get the evil eye from the person in front of you at the theater, on an airplane or any other sort of seated public appearance? Are you worried about what the neighbors might think as the high pitched shrieks of laughter or screams of sibling rivalry bellow from behind your walls?
You are not alone! Last week my 10 year old daughter and I were hanging out on the pool deck as my son swam laps with his swim team. It was a special day because later that evening we had tickets to watch Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth perform. I was on edge anticipating the ADHD induced sillies to rain on our parade. My girlfriend and her 2 younger boys came over to say hello. Her boys were fresh out of the pool and wrapped up in towels to dry off. Pickles (no, not her real name) walked over to greet them. I was far enough away to not be able to hear what was going on. I observed her running circles around the 7 year old boys and repeatedly sticking her face just inches from theirs. I could tell from their body language that they were less than amused. Engaged in conversation with my girlfriend this scenario continued for several minutes. Finally I was able to call her name and redirect.
When we were back in my car and safely out of the public eye, I asked her what was going on??
She replied, “I’m just so excited about the concert.”
“I know sweetie. It was obvious from their body language that the boys weren’t happy with your behavior” I responded.
“I know,” she said, “but I didn’t really care.”
SIGH! I’ll count this as a small win because a few years ago she would have been oblivious to the body language.
I took a deep breath. I went in knowing this day was going to be a challenge. The concert tickets were a gift for her birthday (9 months ago) so the buildup of excitement was a lot for any child to handle but Pickles was dealt the ADHD card so regulating her emotions was an even bigger challenge. I reminded myself of the special parenting approach for my daughter and forged ahead determined to face each moment as it presented itself. We were making memories!
The concert was so much better than I had ever expected. Yes, there were many moments of complete and total unbridled craziness. I had to remind myself several times to stay calm. Screaming is never the answer but that is hard to remember when your daughter is screaming at the top of her lungs and bouncing off hotel beds.
How to Parent thru the ADHD Induced Wackiness (or any other moment when you need the kids to turn it down a notch)
This recent “win” gave me the idea of making note of what works to help calm the crazies when it appears like you fed your child a bowl full of sugar for breakfast (and my loyal readers know I would never do such a thing):
- Get the Wiggles Out
- If my kids are bouncing off the walls at home and it’s just too much for me to handle I will give them an activity to get that energy out like run 3 laps around the pool or drop and give me 10 burpees
- Going back to my concert example above there are times when you can’t send your kid off to burn up energy. Try refocusing their attention by playing a game like rock-paper-scissors, freeze dance or charades. It has to be something entertaining enough to draw their attention.
- Self Calming
- I’ll be honest this one is the most difficult for me to execute. I’m not going to give up because in the long run this is the most effective tool to teach our kids in order for them to succeed in life. The one tactic I have had the most success with is what we call “snake breathing.” Teach your child to take a long slow breath in through their nose and then slowly exhale through their mouth while making a hissing sound.
What do you think? Would this work for your kiddos? Is there a trick you have up your sleeve to calm the crazies? Please share your win or struggle by commenting below.